Glassblowing is one of the most beautiful, practical, and versatile art forms. Since the 1st century B.C, humanity has recognized the importance and value of shaping glass, due to its many applications extending from the practical to the artistic. We have developed multiple techniques to make the best use of this wonderful material.
If you’re interested in learning about this craft, whether it is as a profession or hobby, you have to start somewhere.
That’s why we brought this short guide, where we’ll cover a few important aspects of glassblowing, in order to give you a better idea of what this craft is all about – and what you should do to get going in the right direction.
What is Glassblowing
Glassblowing is the craft of shaping glass by blowing air into molten glass with the aid of a blowpipe.
With great glassblowing skills, you can create all sorts of glass objects that range from plates to full-blown statues.
Why Learn Glassblowing
Not only is glassblowing an incredibly satisfying art form through which you can freely express your creativity, but being a glassmith is also a reputable profession with the potential to earn a living.
Glass is so versatile that you can create pretty much anything with it. That makes it an excellent hobby, if you want to earn some money on the side, or create hand-made gifts for family and friends.
A Quick Glance at The Glass Blowing Process
Walking into a glassblowing studio, you’ll immediately notice a lot of hot objects around, reminding why people say glassblowing can be dangerous, if the appropriate precautions aren’t taken.
The main tools are
The furnaces, which are meant to heat the glass to make it malleable.
The blowpipe, which is the main instrument for shaping and blowing air into the glass.
The marver, a table that shapes the glass cylindrically.
The jacks, steel tweezers which remove the glass from the blowpipe.
And many other small tools adding shape and detail to the glass.
The simplified glass blowing process
First, molten glass is gathered from the furnace on one end of the blowpipe.
Then, the blowpipe is rolled over the marver to shape the glass cylindrically and symmetrically.
Once the glass begins to harden, it is taken to the glory hole (another furnace) to be reheated again. This is done continuously throughout the glassblowing process to prevent the glass from cooling.
While reheating and blowing the glass, the blowpipe must be rotated continuously, or the molten glass will slump downwards due to gravity, losing its shape.
Next, the glass smith blows air through a blowpipe into the glass until the piece reaches the intended size.
To create a particular shape and color, smaller tools come into play.
Next, it’s time to remove the glass piece. With a tweezer tool called jacks, the glass is cut at the mouthpiece, allowing the glass to be removed from the blowpipe with one solid tap.
How to Learn Glassblowing
Our best recommendation is to take classes from a master glass artist at a local studio school.
Learning the craft at home is not recommended because handling the glassblowing tools without experience can be dangerous and tedious. It’s best to work with experts until you have built a solid glass blowing skill set.
A master glass artist will help you eliminate bad habits right from the start, and provide insight for improvements. You will also have the confidence that you’re creating glass art proficiently.