What is a Glass Blower?
A glass blower construct designs ranging from simple to complex, using molten glass (Extremely Hot Glass). Glass jars and vases, jewelry, art work, and figurines all may materialize from the end of a narrow long tube, the skill and tools of the glass blower determining the final design of the glass.
The skill of glass blowing itself is an ancient one. It was in use in the middle east as early as 20 BC, among the Phoenicians, when creating crude glass receptacle sturdy enough to hold liquids was a great accomplishment. As practitioners became more advanced in their skill, artisans began experimenting with the designs of finely detailed and delicate blown glass that combined a variety of colors and shapes to form what represents to works of art. Today’s glass blowing techniques mirror those of the past, with skilled workers using methods of glass construct that have been passed down through the generations.
What does a Glass Blower Do?
In conventional, glass blowing, molten glass is first made by heating a combination of soda ash, potash, limestone and sand to over 1093.3 Degrees Celsius. When using the oldest technique, free-blowing, the glass blower spools a section of molten glass on to the end of a blowpipe, forming amass, or blob of molten glass. The blower then blows air through the pipe to expand the glass into a bubble of the required size. From this point, several tools are employed to produce the design the blower has envisioned.
The marver, a flat, thick steel surface, is used to cool and shape the glass. Tweezers, paddles, jacks and shears are used variously to pull out glass formations, flatten areas and cut and shape the glass. Glass that is not cooled properly can shatter dangerously due to thermal stress. Finished glass pieces are placed in an annealing oven to cool down at a safe temperature, a process that can take hours or days, depending on the size of the finished product. Individual glass blowers often develop their own workspaces and techniques, designed to suit their way of working, and methods of creation.
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