what is GlassBlowing
Glassblowing involves inflating molten glass into a bubble or parison, with the aid of a blowpipe, or blow tube. A Glassblower, glass smith or gaffer is a person who blows glass. Glassblowing involves three furnaces. The major tools involved are the blowpipe (or blow tube), the punty (or pontil), bench, marver, blocks, jacks, paddles, tweezers, paper and a variety of shears.
The technique of glassblowing has been used for over 2000 years, and over this period, has undergone several transformations in order to manufacture some of the finest artworks that have ever been produced.
History of glassblowing
...it all started over 2000 years back...
Glassblowing is a glass forming technique which was invented by the Syrian craftsman in the 1st century BC. The establishment of the Roman Empire provided motivation and dominance of glass production by this method. So, the use of blown glass for everyday tasks spread.
By the middle Ages, Venice had become a major center of glass making. Then, the glass blowing industry moved to the island of Murano. The Venetian glassmakers from Murano produced cristallo, clear, fine glassware by employing glassblowing, in particular, the mould-blowing technique.
In the 1820's the industry experienced the most important innovation since the Syrians invented the blow pipe. Bakewell patented a process of mechanically pressing hot glass which would change how glass was used forever.
A full range of glassblowing techniques was developed within decades of its invention. Before the invention of the metal blowpipes, the ancient glassworkers made clay blowpipes, also known as mouth blowers, due to the accessibility and availability of the resources.
Two major methods of glassblowing are free-blowing and mold-blowing. Free-blowing technique held very important position in glassforming ever since its introduction in the middle of the 1st century BC until the late 19th century and is still widely use nowadays.
Mold-blowing was an alternate glassblowing technique that came after the invention of the free-blowing. This tools and techniques have changed very little over the centuries.
The process of free-blowing involves the blowing of short puffs of air into a molten portion of glass called a “gather” which has been spooled at one end of the blowpipe. The glass worker can then quickly inflate the molten glass to a coherent blob and work it into a desired shape.
Mold-blown glass is made by blowing hot glass into a mold made of clay, wood, or metal. Glassmakers create decorative vessels by using a mold with incised designs. Mold fragments of stone, clay, bronze, and plaster have survived from antiquity.
A lampworker (often also called a glassblower or glassworker) manipulates glass with the use of a torch on a smaller scale, such as in producing precision laboratory glassware out of borosilicate glass. (a type of glass with silica and boron trioxide as the main glass-forming constituents.
Borosilicate glasses are known for having very low coefficients of thermal expansion, making them more resistant to thermal shock than any other common glass.)
We hope you enjoyed this introduction to the Glass Art World. To learn more about Slumped Glass Art and to gaze at our beautiful handmade artwork, come and visit our online gallery.