Glassblowing is an art form that consists of shaping glass. The technique is a process that takes time, expertise, and special tools to complete, but the end result is a magnificent glass piece or sculpture. It all begins when the materials limestone, sand, potash, and soda ash are combined together and placed in the first of three furnaces during this process. process The temperature in the furnace is over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit or 1093.3 degrees Celsius. The materials must be in a melted state to allow manipulation. This soft and melted state is known as molten state.
Heating the Glass
To be a successful glassblower, certain tools are required. Tools like a blowpipe, jacks, paddles, county, tweezers, tweezers shears. The blowpipe is the primary tool in the process of glassblowing. It is used by first being preheated. It is then placed in the glass that is still in the furnace. The melted glass is then carefully wrapped around the end of the blowpipe. The glass appears like sticky taffy at the end of the blowpipe. Next,the glass is moved to a marver. A marver is simply a slab of thick steel, but it is quite crucial to the art form. The marver allows the glassblower to shape the glass because it provides a cool setting for the glass. The ideal temperature for glassblowing is between 1600 degrees Fahrenheit and 1900 degrees Fahrenheit (871 degrees and 1038 degrees Celsius).
During the formation and initial manipulation of the glass, it may need to be reheated multiple times. If the temperature of the glass becomes too cool, then the glass is too hard and nearly impossible to bend and move around. The reheating is done in a furnace known as a glory hole.
Shaping the Glass
The glassblower then blows air through the blowpipe. This causes the molten glass to form into a bubble. Larger pieces may require multiple bubbles. Typically one bubble is created over another. The glass is moved onto a punty; an iron rod. Shapes and formations are then created with the use of tools like the tweezers and shears. The glassblower uses the tweezers to move the glass around and form details. Paddles and shears are also used during this creative step to create the desired look.
Adding Patterns and Colors
The glassblower continues to work on the glass object by adding patterns or colors to the glass. This is usually accomplished by rolling the still molten glass over powdered color. Patterns are made by rolling the molten glass over rods. The pattern process is also known as canework.
Baking the Glass
Once the glass is transformed into the desired object, it is placed in the third, and final, furnace. This furnace is known as large or annealer. The glass is slowly baked to strengthen the final product. It can take anywhere from a few days to a few hours to complete the final step. The time frame depends on the size of the object.
The art of glassblowing is quite ancient. The beautiful and timeless art form was believed to be invented around 50 B.C. by the Phoenicians in Syro-Palestinian. Items like glass bottles, glass tubes, and other glass pieces were discovered in the Old City of Jerusalem. The pieces are believed to have been created somewhere around 37 B.C. to near 5 B.C.
Over the years, many have marvelled at the exquisite beauty of blown glass art. Many artists have experimented with the ancient practices of glassblowing and developed modern techniques to produce amazing pieces.
Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by Derbeth
Article by Luminus Glass Distributors
This article was contributed by Luminous Glass Distributors, a Miami wholesale glass company. Visit them at www.lgdglass.com.