How to Start Glass-Blowing
When we talk about art forms, glass-blowing is rarely even mentioned, but it is one of the oldest and most unique forms of creating art that there is. Glass-blowing must also be one of the very coolest arts that is practiced. It is sheer theater, with roaring furnaces and molten glass dominating proceedings. Have you ever considered trying the art of glass blowing? Well if you have and did not know where to begin here are some helpful tips.
What is Glass-Blowing?
Glass-blowing is exactly as it says on the can, it is the procedure of blowing air into molten glass to form shapes and objects. It is believed that this extreme art was developed by the Syrians over two millennia ago, so glass blowing has been with us for thousands of years.
What Can You Make?
There is no definitive answer to the question as whatever your imagination can dream up you can make by glass blowing. Yes, you do need the correct utensils and equipment but once you get some experience under your belt you will be surprised what you can actually produce. The myriad of shapes and colors that you can create is boundless and that is why the art form is still going strong today. When you start you should be concentrating on rounded objects as these are the easiest to produce, then you can progress on to more angular shapes.
Tools of the Trade
Obviously like any art or craft you will need the tools of the trade, and as glass-blowing can be highly dangerous you need to pay special attention to safety. And the first equipment you need to go out and buy is for your own safety.
There are two basic materials that you need to take up glass-blowing, namely glass and flux.
- Glass – basically glass is made from sand, sometimes referred to as silica. But many starters simply use recycled glass.
- Flux – fluxes are added to the glass to help strengthen it and to bring down the melting point so your furnace does not have to be too hot and the glass is more workable.
The most integral part of kit you need is a furnace, as you glass must reach certain temperatures before it melts and becomes pliable.
- Furnace – this contains your crucible of molten glass and is highly important.
- Glory Hole – this is a secondary furnace that comes in helpful to reheat glass as it cools down.
- Annealer – once you have your object formed then you put it in annealer to cool the glass slowly so it does not crack.
There is no way around this but you will have to take glass-blowing lessons immediately before you even turn your furnace on. You have to be indoctrinated in all the safety aspects first before you attempt to blow-glass. Perhaps why not consider an apprenticeship? Many glass-blowing studios offer this service and if you have the time this is an excellent way of learning the art of glass-blowing. No book can ever really teach you the skills you will need, and if you start off half-cocked then you may pick up bad habits that are hard to get rid of.