The Art of Glass Blowing
The oldest shards of glass vases (proof of the very beginnings of the hollow glass blowing business), however, date back to the 16th century BC and were discovered in Mesopotamia. Hollow glass manufacturing was also rapidly developing around this period in Egypt, and there is proof of other glassmaking activities taking shape independently in Mycenae (Greece), North Tyrol and China.
Some of the very ancient glass on record dates back to the pre-Roman times. Solid beads and jewelry have been found roughly made in the year 2500 BC. Although glass has always existed thousands of years ago, it wasn’t always regarded as an art as it is in modern times. It has been used mainly for practical purposes- containers to contain objects. During the pre-Roman times, glassmakers were crafting vessels, but glass blowing was unheard of. The container was made by wrapping hot glass around a core of clay and manure. Sometimes the crafter would add color after the first transparent layer was in place. After the glass cooled to room temperature the core could be fashioned out, leaving what is now called as a vessel. Some of the ancient vessels could be dated back to 1500 BC in Egypt and Mesopotamia. During those times glass was still not yet a popular household item.
Glass making was known by a handful of people, and only the members of royalty and the wealthy class owned it. Both Egyptians and Middle Easterners were fusing rods of colored glass together to make a unique pattern. The finished product would then be heated and pulled out, making the design smaller. After that it was cut and assembled into a mosaic. Knowledge of glass making traveled from Mesopotamia and Egypt mainly through the means of business and wars. Mesopotamian and Egyptian glass that dates back prior to Roman times have been discovered in the Mediterranean, France and Russia.
In an art glass studio there is a kiln in in which clear glass is subject to heating. The glass is contained in a crucible. There is a “Glory Hole” where the glass blower does his or her work; an oven that keeps pipes at an elevated temperature; and an annealing oven to gradually cool down finished art work. Glass blowing masters create a variety of products. Check out these amazing glass bong devices and pipes!
The formation of a piece of glass art begins when the clear glass is placed in the crucible that is filled and “gathers” a single layer of molten glass on the end of a metal blow pipe. The glass maker then rolls the molten glass on a metal table to impart a cylindrical shape. The glass is then gradually melted in the glory hole – all the time the artist is turning the blow pipe and keeping it in regular motion.
The glass is reheated multiple times in the Glory Hole because the glass is required to be kept at a temperature above 1000° F.