What Does Blowing Glass Mean?

What Does Blowing Glass Mean?

Blown glass is the process of shaping and molding hot glass to form a finished object. This requires several manual steps and can be employed to craft both useful and decorative objects.

First, the artist gathers molten glass from a melting pot and inflates it using a blow pipe to form an object that matches the design of the mould. This forming process can take considerable time, as well as extensive expertise regarding material properties.

First, the glass is shaped by placing it into a mold or end of the blowpipe (known as “the gather”) and carefully rotating while inflating with air until it achieves the desired shape. After this is complete, an artist trims away any excess glass and removes it from its blowpipe.

Second, reheating the finished piece in a gas flame helps to relax any stresses placed on it during construction. This method is typically employed for smaller objects as a temporary measure before annealing it to its final state.

Third, applying a layer of contrasting color over a base color creates the appearance that something has been spray-painted on. This technique is often employed on graal or cameo glass to achieve an interesting layered effect.

Fourth, creating patterns or decorative effects can be achieved by painting the back side of a blown piece with pigments and then applying trails to its surface. This technique differs from enameling, in which powdered colored glasses are fused onto a vessel before it’s annealed.

Fifth, carving a network of lines or grooves into glass gives it a sculptural appearance. These techniques can be done through engraving, cutting, or rolling the glass for extra dimension and visual interest.

The earliest method of working with glass was mouth blowing. This involves placing molten glass into a mould or at the end of a blowpipe and rotating it while inflating it with air. Reheating of the finished piece takes place in a flameworker, which runs on oxygen and gas mixture. Shaped like a torch, this heat source consists of a head that contains many orifices to distribute flame, a body where gas passes up to it, and a valve assembly that regulates gas/oxygen mix proportionately and volume produced.

Modern glassmaking factories still employ this method as it’s the most popular artisan work. It requires less time than other techniques but still produces an eye-catching object with functional value.

Reheating the finished piece is an integral step of the forming process, relieving stresses placed on the glass during construction. As this can be an expensive operation, it’s often only used on smaller items as a temporary measure before annealing to its final state.