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The Art of Glass Blowing

Molten glass is made when sand and other ingredients are melting in a furnace at over 2000° F. The glassblower dips a blowpipe into the hot liquid glass to collect a gather, or blob of glass, on the end of the pipe.


A piece begins when the glass blower reaches inside the furnace and into a crucible that is filled with clear, melted glass and “gathers” a layer of molten glass on the end of a steel blow pipe.  

The gather of glass is rolled on a steel table called a marver to smooth it into a rounded form. The glass is then heated in the glory hole – all the while the artist is turning the blow pipe and keeping it in constant motion.

The glass blower (gaffer) forms his or her work in an oven called a “Glory Hole” that keeps pipes and punties hot. The gaffer has to constantly reheat the piece in a glory hole to keep it at the right temperature while shaping and forming the piece.  Finished work is kept in an annealing oven to slowly cool down.

Most glassblowers start with clear glass and then add color. When the glass is blown into a bubble and shaped, the colored glass becomes part of the whole piece. Another way to add color is to dip or roll the clear or colored glass into some frits of colored glass.

The glassblower then blows air through the pipe to create a bubble of glass.  The gaffer uses blocks and other tools to shape the hot glass into the form he or she wants.





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Last modified: January 20, 2013