The Art Of Glassblowing
Glassblowing is a beautiful art form that is also very functional. The possibilities are endless and the process of glassblowing will give you a new perspective and appreciation for glass.
History of Glassblowing
Glass has been around for over 3,500 years. Making glass useful was a difficult process before glassblowing. The glass would need to be heated and molded around a clay form. Only the very wealthy had glass in their homes. Glassblowing became popular around the time of the Roman Empire and allowed glass to become a household item. At that time, it was more about practicality than art. Only recently has glass become a popular art form. Glassblowing has a rich history in every culture and is still very prevalent today.
Terminology of Glassblowing
There are several important tools needed for glassblowing. The blowpipe is a hollow steel rod that is used for the actual blowing. You place the molten glass on one end and the other end contains a mouthpiece. Many tools are used for cutting and shaping the glass including shears, and a jack. The jack is large instrument that looks like a pair of tweezers. The jack is used to hold the hot glass and manipulate it in a variety of ways. Another important tool is an annealing oven. This oven reaches extremely high temperatures and cools glass slowly when a project is complete to avoid any cracking or breaks. A kiln is typically used while working with the glass to heat the glass as needed throughout the process. There are hundreds of other terms for different techniques and tools, the above terms are just part of the fundamentals of glassblowing.
Artistic Possibilities with Glassblowing
The possibilities of things that can be made from glassblowing are endless. The most common objects, and usually the items a beginner would make, are bowls, cups, vases, and bottles. More complex items include animals, ornaments, chandeliers, and other household decorations. Blown glass chandeliers are becoming very popular because they are so stunning and unique. Bold colors and whimsical shapes are typically used. Also, no two pieces are alike when it comes to hand blown glass. Every project will have its own unique features that make it special.
Making Your Own Blown Glass Pieces
Glassblowing is a fun and interesting hobby to indulge in. Glass art is a beautiful addition to any home and its even more impressive and rewarding when you make it yourself. Glassblowing requires extreme temperatures and specialized tools, so it’s best for beginners to learn under a professional. There are many dangers involved and a professional will know the steps needed to maintain safety. Considering the costs involved with all the supplies, it is cost effective to take classes until you become more advanced. Glassblowing requires much patience. The process of shaping the glass, or adding colors to the glass, is slow and very detail oriented. There is also the chance your project could shatter at any point, especially if you try to rush things. These factors are what make a finished project so special.
Blown glass artwork pieces add beauty to any home. The designs you can make from glassblowing are endless. It is an ancient technique that has evolved in amazing ways and blown glass artwork is a beautiful way to express one’s taste.
Wendy Popper loves all kinds of hands-on art activities, whether it’s glassblowing, or more intricate Bend-It and Helical Coil production.