Hilo Glass Art Museum
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The Ancient Glass Blowing Techniques

The Ancient Glass Blowing Techniques

The Glassblowing technique really took off during the middle ages when we saw an increased amount of glass popping up all over Europe starting from the medieval period and all the way up to the renaissance period. The medieval period changed the art of glass blowing by adding molds which were both ridged and simple. Then the introduction of claws decorating became known. These vessels for drinking became animal horn shapes and were known all throughout Belgium, Rhine Valley, and Meuse Valley. Byzantine glassworkers molded many Christian symbols out of blown glass between the 6th and 70th century A.D in Jerusalem. They also created blown vessels of many facets which had linear cuts as evidenced by the reliefs which were discovered in Samarra. During the Renaissance, Italy revitalized glass.

This revitalization by the glassworkers of Venice allowed them to mold glassware using mold blowing. The end product was a glassware they named Cristallo. Many of the crown and cylinder techniques of glass blowing occurred towards the end of the 17th century. These techniques created sheet glass for the use in window panes. Glass blowing became such a popular art that the entire world would soon be introduced to it.

Mass production techniques came about in the Industrial Revolution where we saw a huge improvement. Mass production in glass blowing started to occur throughout England and produced a variety of types of objects that could then be sold throughout the world.

As we fast-forward to 1962, we see a movement called studio glass which began by the opening of workshops which Harvey Littleton held in the Museum of Art in Toledo. Littleton was a ceramics professor who experimented with melting glass inside a furnace which turned the blown glass into art. He then began to promote the furnace’s use at many different studios. This resulted in a growing glass blowing approach which would become world known. Today, modern glass blowing artists have become more prolific with the use of this glass blowing technique. They create amazing pieces of art like bongs and pipes with different designs and shapes. If you have such smoking device, how do you clean a bong? Cleaning a bong isn’t so hard if you’re sure to do it often with water and alcohol.

So much so, that sharing equipment and detailed training in the art of glass blowing is now offered at many universities.