The art of glass blowing dates back to ancient Syria. Back then, artisans created glass-blown products of various shapes and sizes to be transported all over Europe. Today this art form has evolved from the typical decorative pieces to large glass art installations such as the colorful creations of Dale Chihuly.
If you’re entering the world of glass blowing, you’d want to set yourself apart from the rest. Though this is a unique hobby, you’d like to be as extraordinary as possible to gain a sizeable following, especially if you intend to pursue it as a business.
If you already know the basics but would want to improve your handiwork, here are ways you can do it:
Use A Variety Of Tools
A glass heated to about 2,000 degrees Celsius is very pliable. With the right tools and techniques, you can dictate its shape, producing an exquisite item that’s proudly made in the USA. Today, there’s a variety of new tools you can use to create unique and impressive designs, such as the following:
- Torches: The heat from a torch softens and shapes the glass on a much smaller scale. So, instead of putting the glass in the furnace, you may heat the parts you want to work on using a torch.
- Crimps: Looking like regular old tongs, a crimp is used to add texture to parts of the glass that it squeezes.
- Soffietta: A soffietta is a metal tube with a conical nozzle at the end. It’s used to inflate a piece of glass after being taken off a blowpipe.
- Taglia: A taglia is a square-ended steel knife used to shape molten glass.
- Diamond Shears: They look like your typical giant scissors but with a diamond-shaped middle. Diamond shears add a different dimension to your glass work by constricting the material when you cut through it.
- Pyrometer: Temperature is crucial in glass blowing, and maintaining a consistently high temperature will produce a more pliable material. A pyrometer is used to determine the exact temperature of the furnace before you can put your glass through the hole. This remote sensing thermometer can indicate if the glass is heated or has cooled down properly.
You can learn proper glass blowing by attending a legitimate class. Classes initiated by organizations committed to improving this art form are all over the United States. There are different classes you can take. A few of them are the following:
- Fundamentals Of Glass Blowing: In this class, you’ll learn the basics of glass blowing that focuses on the three primary forms: cylinder, bowl, and cone.
- Glass Flowers And Mushrooms: This class applies the technique of marvering and adding color to glass in creating flowers and mushrooms.
- Glass Implosion Bowls: This class is all about perfecting the blowing and sucking technique in creating a blown glass bowl.
- Glass Ornaments: This class teaches you how to make a glass ornament you can hang.
- Glass Paperweights: In this class, you’ll learn how to create glass paperweights that may be considered treasured pieces for display.
- Goblets: Using the Venetian technique, you’ll learn how to create goblets, arguably the most sought-after glass-blown product.
- Glass Sculpting: If you want to take your technique further and be able to make mesmerizing glass art installations, this class is for you.
Seek Expert Mentors
If you want to take this craft seriously, there’s no better way than to be mentored by an expert. Learn the intricacies of glass blowing from the likes of Katherine Gray, mentor and resident evaluator from Netflix’s Blown Away, who also teaches at California State University.
Watch Videos Online
There are many videos online about glass blowing. You may start by watching them, build on your knowledge, and then put what you’ve learned into practice.
Explore Various Techniques
Aside from free-blowing and mold-blowing, there’s also lamp-working which uses borosilicate glass. Try each technique independently to determine which method you’d be most proficient in.
Find New Inspirations
Sometimes, a visit to a rustic little town can put your creative mind into overdrive and give you a ton of inspiration for your work. So, let your mind and body wander freely. Travel and search for new ideas. Be inspired as you see the world with fresh eyes. Who knows, your little outing might give you a spurt of creativity and endless enthusiasm for the art form.
Not many people are into glass blowing. The ancient practice may be slowly fading, but those who appreciate it are willing to breathe life into the art, like how glass artists breathe life into the glass.