Learning the Art of the Glass Blowing Process

The glass blowing process is not generally something that can be self-taught. Unlike other art forms, such as painting with acrylics or sculpting with clay, glass blowing is a highly skilled and potentially dangerous craft that is best taught by an experienced glass artisan. It is not something that you can generally do in your own home, as glass blowing requires furnaces, many specialized tools and, of course, safety equipment. It is not an easy skill to learn, and requires a great deal of patience and attention to detail.

What Is Glass Blowing?
The glass blowing art begins by heating glass in a furnace until it is soft and pliable. Next, the glass blower dips the end of a blowpipe into the molten glass, gathering a blob of glass on the end of the pipe. The artist then rolls the soft glass on a marble or steel table, which begins to shape the piece and also to cools it slightly, to a temperature where it will not drip. The artist then begins slowly blowing air into the blowpipe, creating a bubble. More glass is added, and the artist continues to blow and shape the piece, using a variety of tools and sometimes molds to create the desired effect. If the artist wishes to add color, the hot glass is dipped into crushed colored glass before blowing.

After the piece has reached it's desired shape and is complete, the process of annealing begins. In this crucial final step, the piece is slowly cooled so that it doesn't crack and break.

Learning to Blow Glass
If you would like to seek out glass blowing training to learn this ancient art, you may be able to find classes in glass blowing at an art center or art school in your area. You may also be able to train under a glass artisan in your area as an apprentice.

Once you've learned the mechanics of glass blowing, it takes many years to perfect this painstaking art. The most important thing to remember when learning to blow glass is that the temperatures necessary to make glass pliable are extremely dangerous, reaching 2,500 degrees or more. Do not attempt glass blowing on your own until you've been sufficiently trained by a professional and have taken all the necessary safety precautions.

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