Hilo Glass Art Museum
The Art And Craft Of Glass Blowing

The Art And Craft Of Glass Blowing

Shaping glass pieces which is molten to form glass to create designs is known as glass blowing. Glass blowing begins by introducing air into molten glass bubbles by blowing into a blowpipe. The air is blown into the tube and through to the glass where the shape and design are controlled. The two methods that are used for this are called mold blowing and free blowing. Out of the two methods, free blowing is the most commonly used according to records coming from the first century regarding glass blowing.

Equipment And Supplies For Glass Blowing
The equipment used for glass blowing vary’s by the type of glassblowing art you intend to create. There is, of course, certain supplies and equipment that are standard in all productions of glass work. Glass blowing would not be possible without the help from fuel regulators, hoses and torches. As well as tweezers, graphite shields and paddles which allow the safe handling of the molten glass as it gets shaped at the required temperature for a piece. Using a fireboard behind the kiln and on your workbench is also recommended. If you intend to create glass beads then utilizing bead mandrels that have release substances sprayed on will help quicken the creation process.

Using tools like grabbers and nippers helps you cut the glass and place it where you need it. Your protective glasses should also be specially designed for your glassblowing art and not just to protect your eyes from any breaking glass that may occur. Make sure they are dark enough so your eyes are protected from flares which occur because of the molten glass.

Make sure you have the best glass tubes available. They need to include hollow and solid tubes. It should also be known that just because there are many beginner glass blowers that start out using clear tubes, the availability of color tubes is also plentiful. Lastly, having a good kiln to help cool your glass blown art is very important. Check with a good supplier of glassblowing equipment to ensure that your list of equipment needs is thoroughly met.

Techniques Of Glass Blowing
There are currently only two main techniques of glass blowing. These are mold blowing and free blowing. The free blowing technique was highly used by the first century glass blowers of Murano. It is the oldest form and it is still widely used today. The free blowing technique is when air is introduced by blowing short air puffs into the ball of molten glass via the pipe. The puffs of air then cools the molten glass on the inside so the cooling temperature matches the outside. The glass blower is then able to shape and form the molten glass bubble by manipulating the glass using pinching, swinging or pulling it into shapes. This technique is able to produce the smallest objects for decorative purposes as well as large pieces of glass pane.

The technique of mold blowing is when molten glass is blown into a wood or metal mold. The design elements of your mold will decide your product’s final texture and shape. Mold blowing also includes using either a one piece mold or two piece mold. One piece molds allow the lifting of your glass art from the mold while the two-piece mold is used for designs that are more intricate.