The Fine Art of Glassblowing


The fine art of glassblowing is done about by two different methods.

Glassblowing means simply to manipulate glass to form it into desired shapes with the use of heat. It is possible to do glassblowing by either lampworking – which is a method by which a oxy-fuel torch is used to manipulate glass into shapes – or by the off hand method. The off hand method shapes molten glass with a hollow tube to mold it into the desired shape.

Modern glassblowing results into many forms. There are many sites on the Internet where you can buy specific glass devices like dab rigs and bongs.

Off-hand Method
To do the off hand method you need the glass to be at a scorching temperature of two thousand twenty five to two thousand one hundred and twenty five degrees Fahrenheit. Then you use a steel tube to move the glass in a circular motion while it’s in the molten glass oven. You must get it into a cylinder like shape that’s stable enough before you can proceed to move it to a marver -which is a steel table- where the glass can then be shaped into the desired design. Once you have a shape you’d like you can blow into the tube you are using then cover the end of the tube. This will create a bubble like shape to the glass and is called capping. Then go ahead and gather more glass to continue shaping your art. After you finish you shape you can use a cool tool to cut a line where you want to break the blown glass away from the tube. It’s easier then to go ahead and pop the glass away from the tube. All of the supplies and the glass will then need to be cooled off in an annealer overnight. This is an oven that cools rather than heats.


Lampworking Method
Lampworking is usually meant for creating smaller glass objects. It involves using a torch to shape molten glass. An oxygen or propane blow torch is preferable. Prepare the mandrel by heating up by the torch. Attach the molten glass to the mandrel and then hold it in front of the torch to shape it. Also cool it off in an anealer overnight.
When glassblowing use extreme caution as the temperature is extremely hot. Always be prepared with the right equipment. You need glass, a friend, a furnace to melt glass, a glory hole to reheat glass, a blowpipe and punty, a blow torch, a marver, hand tools to cut glass, eye protection, a long sleeve shirt and an annealer to cool the glass.

Before attempting to blow glass on your own you should probably take a class or some glassblowing training for safety reasons. Your local art center or the public school in your area might offer classes for glassblowing from artists or art teachers.