www.whyville.net Dec 8, 2013 Weekly Issue

Veteran Times Writer

The Art of Glass Blowing

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Have you ever looked at a piece of glass, perhaps a wavy bowl or a paperweight, and wondered how it came into existence? Questioned the process that went into creating such a beautiful piece of art? I recently submitted a Gallery article to the Times showcasing some of the artworks I created in my "Hot Glass" class, but no one seemed to have any idea of the concept of "glass blowing". Glass blowing is a beautiful form of art responsable for creating all sorts of glass masterpieces, ranging from drinking glasses, vases, and bowls to paperweights, and glass ornaments. It's an art form that has captured my attention and I find to be incredibly fascinating, as well as difficult.

Glass blowing starts off with collecting molten hot glass from a kiln, on the end of a pipe. You stick the pipe into the kiln and do a few rotations to gather the glass. This is the part of the process I find to be the most difficult, because the heat from the kiln burns you while you're trying to gather, and you leave with some lovely heat rashes up your arms.

After you've successfully gathered a useable amount of glass on the end of your pipe, you blow into the end and cap it to trap a bubble inside the glass that will be essential in further blowing to make the glass hollow.

Throughout the process you have to continuously reheat the glass so it's at a hot enough temperature to mould and shape. different types of tools are used to work the glass which is what makes it so different from other forms of art, since you cannot physically touch it until it's been completed and cooled.

Basically that is the gist of glass blowing, but it's still a much more complex art form than what I've outlined. It requires a lot of physical capability to work the glass, and the ability to endure the heat. Not to mention the precision of how much glass to gather at the end of the pipe, and to blow it just the right amount so the glass won't explode.

It's a dangerous art form, but it creates the most beautiful things. I'm happy that I've been lucky enough to take practice in it.



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