The art and invention of glassblowing
The art and invention of glassblowing has been around for centuries. Glassblowing has proven its beauty countless number of times. Artist from all over the world have come to find the skill and craftsmanship that is required to achieve this beauty. Even in today’s world, Glassblowers are still discovering and creating new techniques to aspire to their own creations. Glass blowing is a glass forming technique which involves manipulating glass into different shapes by using different tools and techniques. A blowpipe is a popular tool that is used and the most important. A blowpipe is a tool used to concentrate streams of gases into glass to create a shape or bubble. This is ultimately how glassblowing achieved its name. Glassblowing is a work of art and requires skill and years of practice. It has been around for a very long time and is even believed to date back to 1500 BC. As with anything, Glassblowing has advanced with age. Over time, the evolution of glassblowing has developed into many different techniques and methods for creating beautiful pieces. Nowadays, glass blowing is often used to create devices like bongs used for smoking.
Techniques Used in Glassblowing
Throughout time, glassblowing artist have used different techniques to create different visionary works. Glassblowing opened up the doors for what we knew about the properties of glass. One in particular is inflation. Inflation is the act of blowing up a molten hot piece of glass by blowing air into it. While in this state, glass seems to be a honey like liquid, giving it ease to be structured and change. While the glass cools, it becomes hard again, retaining its newly found shape. The discovery of inflation advanced glassblowing into what it is today. Within a decade of discovering inflation and studying this property of glass, more techniques were developed to make a glass smith’s job easier as well as providing the opportunity to take this form of art to a higher level.
- Free Blowing
- Mold Blowing
Free blowing is a technique that dates all the way to 1st century BC. It was the most prominent technique used and is still very much used today for glassblowing. Free blowing is the art of blowing into melted glass in order to provide the glass with a shape. This technique allowed vessels to be made more quickly as well as replacing clay items. With this technique, glass workers are able to manipulate and structure the glass to their liking with ease. They are able to make a wide variety of things ranging from glass cups to window glass. Free blowing was just the introduction to glassblowing.
An alternative method to Free blowing is mold blowing. Mold Blowing involves having the help of a mold to shape glass. Molten glass is gathered at the end of a blow stick. The glass blower then works the glass by spinning and blowing into the blow pipe, the glass worker then places the molten glass into a mold and blows into it to give it a particular shape. This technique requires less skill and gives the glass worker an easier functionality for creating glass pieces. Mold blowing allows for faster production and introduced the rest of the world to glass objects.
There are many techniques that artist do to try to ensure that their piece gets the flare that it deserves. Fuming is a process that is used to give glass a colorful and shiny finished look. Colors such as reds, golds and silvers are heated up to release fumes that give the glass an opaque look. Reds, golds and silvers have different hues to them and create a very skilled look. This process is difficult to master but is stunning once it is completed. Fuming creates a beautiful reflection in the glass that transmits color and is pleasing to the eyes.