Glassblowing is a glassforming technique that involves inflating molten glass into a bubble (or parison) with the aid of a blowpipe (or blow tube). A person who blows glass is called a glassblower, glassmith, or gaffer. A lampworker (often also called a glassblower or glassworker) manipulates glass with the use of a torch on a smaller scale, such as in producing precision laboratory glassware out of borosilicate glass.

Blowpipe (PSF)
Feature. Romeo Lefebvre- Glass Blower BAnQ P48S1P07924
Glassblower Romeo Lefebvre in his workshop in Montreal, 1942
Bristol blue glass manufacture arp
A stage in the manufacture of a Bristol blue glass ship's decanter. The blowpipe is being held in the glassblower's left hand. The glass is glowing yellow.



As a novel glass forming technique created in the middle of the 1st century BC, glassblowing exploited a working property of glass that was previously unknown to glassworkers; inflation, which is the expansion of a molten blob of glass by introducing a small amount of air to it. That is based on the liquid structure of glass where the atoms are held together by strong chemical bonds in a disordered and random network,[1][2][3] therefore molten glass is viscous enough to be blown and gradually hardens as it loses heat.[4]

To increase the stiffness of the molten glass, which in turn facilitates the process of blowing, there was a subtle change in the composition of glass. With reference to their studies of the ancient glass assemblages from Sepphoris of Israel, Fischer and McCray[5] postulated that the concentration of natron, which acts as flux in glass, is slightly lower in blown vessels than those manufactured by casting. Lower concentration of natron would have allowed the glass to be stiffer for blowing.

During blowing, thinner layers of glass cool faster than thicker ones and become more viscous than the thicker layers. That allows production of blown glass with uniform thickness instead of causing blow-through of the thinned layers.

A full range of glassblowing techniques was developed within decades of its invention. The two major methods of glassblowing are free-blowing and mold-blowing.


Glassblowing demo at Norcal Ren Faire 2010-09-19 20
Glassblowing demo at North California Renaissance Fair in 2010

This method held a pre-eminent position in glassforming ever since its introduction in the middle of the 1st century BC until the late 19th century, and is still widely used nowadays as a glassforming technique, especially for artistic purposes. The process of free-blowing involves the blowing of short puffs of air into a molten portion of glass called a '"gather" which has been spooled at one end of the blowpipe. This has the effect of forming an elastic skin on the interior of the glass blob that matches the exterior skin caused by the removal of heat from the furnace. The glassworker can then quickly inflate the molten glass to a coherent blob and work it into a desired shape.[4][6][7]

Researchers at the Toledo Museum of Art attempted to reconstruct the ancient free-blowing technique by using clay blowpipes. The result proved that short clay blowpipes of about 30–60 cm (12–24 in) facilitate free-blowing because they are simple to handle and to manipulate and can be re-used several times.[8] Skilled workers are capable of shaping almost any vessel forms by rotating the pipe, swinging it and controlling the temperature of the piece while they blow. They can produce a great variety of glass objects, ranging from drinking cups to window glass.

An outstanding example of the free-blowing technique is the Portland Vase, which is a cameo manufactured during the Roman period. An experiment was carried out by Gudenrath and Whitehouse[9] with the aim of re-creating the Portland Vase. A full amount of blue glass required for the body of the vase was gathered on the end of the blowpipe and was subsequently dipped into a pot of hot white glass. Inflation occurred when the glassworker blew the molten glass into a sphere which was then stretched or elongated into a vase with a layer of white glass overlying the blue body.


Bamboo Framing
Glassblower Jean-Pierre Canlis sculpting a section of his piece "Insignificance"

Mold-blowing was an alternative glassblowing method that came after the invention of free-blowing, during the first part of the second quarter of the 1st century AD.[10][11] A glob of molten glass is placed on the end of the blowpipe, and is then inflated into a wooden or metal carved mold. In that way, the shape and the texture of the bubble of glass is determined by the design on the interior of the mold rather than the skill of the glassworker.[4]

Two types of molds, namely single-piece mold and multi-piece mold, are frequently used to produce mold-blown vessels. The former allows the finished glass object to be removed in one movement by pulling it upwards from the single-piece mold and is largely employed to produce tableware and utilitarian vessels for storage and transportation.[12] Whereas the latter is made in multi-paneled mold segments that join together, thus permitting the development of more sophisticated surface modeling, texture and design.

The Roman leaf beaker which is now on display in the J. Paul Getty Museum was blown in a three-part mold decorated with the foliage relief frieze of four vertical plants.[13] Meanwhile, Taylor and Hill[14] tried to reproduce mold-blown vessels by using three-part molds made of different materials. The result suggested that metal molds, in particular bronze, are more effective in producing high-relief design on glass than plaster or wooden molds.

The development of the mold-blowing technique has enabled the speedy production of glass objects in large quantity, thus encouraging the mass production and widespread distribution of glass objects.[11][15]

Modern glassblowing

Goose 8 bg 112303
Use of a glory hole to reheat a piece on the end of a blowpipe
How a wine glass is made, Kosta Glasbruk, video.
Cane Foglio - David Patchen
Glass can be made with precise striped patterns through a process called cane which involves the use of rods of colored glass.

The transformation of raw materials into glass takes place around 1,320 °C (2,400 °F);[16] the glass emits enough heat to appear almost white hot. The glass is then left to "fine out" (allowing the bubbles to rise out of the mass), and then the working temperature is reduced in the furnace to around 1,090 °C (2,000 °F). At this stage, the glass appears to be a bright orange color. Though most glassblowing is done between 870 and 1,040 °C (1,600 and 1,900 °F), "soda-lime" glass remains somewhat plastic and workable as low as 730 °C (1,350 °F). Annealing is usually done between 371 and 482 °C (700 and 900 °F).

Glassblowing involves three furnaces. The first, which contains a crucible of molten glass, is simply referred to as the furnace. The second is called the glory hole, and is used to reheat a piece in between steps of working with it. The final furnace is called the lehr or annealer, and is used to slowly cool the glass, over a period of a few hours to a few days, depending on the size of the pieces. This keeps the glass from cracking or shattering due to thermal stress. Historically, all three furnaces were contained in one structure, with a set of progressively cooler chambers for each of the three purposes.

The major tools used by a glassblower are the blowpipe (or blow tube), punty (or punty rod, pontil, or mandrel), bench, marver, blocks, jacks, paddles, tweezers, newspaper pads, and a variety of shears.

The tip of the blowpipe is first preheated; then dipped in the molten glass in the furnace. The molten glass is "gathered" onto the end of the blowpipe in much the same way that viscous honey is picked up on a honey dipper. This glass is then rolled on the marver, which was traditionally a flat slab of marble, but today is more commonly a fairly thick flat sheet of steel. This process, called marvering,[17] forms a cool skin on the exterior of the molten glass blob, and shapes it. Then air is blown into the pipe, creating a bubble. Next, the glassworker can gather more glass over that bubble to create a larger piece. Once a piece has been blown to its approximate final size, the bottom is finalized. Then, the molten glass is attached to a stainless steel or iron rod called a punty for shaping and transferring the hollow piece from the blowpipe to provide an opening and/or to finalize the top.

The bench is a glassblower's workstation, and has a place for the glassblower to sit, a place for the handheld tools, and two rails that the pipe or punty rides on while the blower works with the piece. Blocks are ladle-like tools made from water-soaked fruitwood, and are used similarly to the marver to shape and cool a piece in the early steps of creation. In similar fashion, pads of water-soaked newspaper (roughly 15 cm (6 in) square, 1.3 to 2.5 centimetres (0.5 to 1 in) thick), held in the bare hand, can be used to shape the piece. Jacks are tools shaped somewhat like large tweezers with two blades, which are used for forming shape later in the creation of a piece. Paddles are flat pieces of wood or graphite used for creating flat spots such as a bottom. Tweezers are used to pick out details or to pull on the glass. There are two important types of shears, straight shears and diamond shears. Straight shears are essentially bulky scissors, used for making linear cuts. Diamond shears have blades that form a diamond shape when partially open. These are used for cutting off masses of glass.

There are many ways to apply patterns and color to blown glass, including rolling molten glass in powdered color or larger pieces of colored glass called frit. Complex patterns with great detail can be created through the use of cane (rods of colored glass) and murrine (rods cut in cross-sections to reveal patterns). These pieces of color can be arranged in a pattern on a flat surface, and then "picked up" by rolling a bubble of molten glass over them. One of the most exacting and complicated caneworking techniques is "reticello", which involves creating two bubbles from cane, each twisted in a different direction and then combining them and blowing out the final form.

A lampworker, usually operating on a much smaller scale, historically used alcohol lamps and breath or bellows-driven air to create a hot flame at a workbench to manipulate preformed glass rods and tubes. These stock materials took form as laboratory glassware, beads, and durable scientific "specimens"—miniature glass sculpture. The craft, which was raised to an art form in the late 1960s by Hans Godo Frabel (later followed by lampwork artists such as Milon Townsend and Robert Mickelson), is still practiced today. The modern lampworker uses a flame of oxygen and propane or natural gas. The modern torch permits working both the soft glass from the furnace worker and the borosilicate glass (low-expansion) of the scientific glassblower. This latter worker may also have multiple headed torches and special lathes to help form the glass or fused quartz used for special projects.



The earliest evidence of glassblowing was found by Roman Ghirshman in Chogha Zanbil, where many glass bottles were found in the excavations of the 2nd millennium BC site.[18][19] Later evidence comes from a collection of waste from a glass shop, including fragments of glass tubes, glass rods and tiny blown bottles, which was dumped in a mikvah, a ritual bath in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, dated from 37 to 4 BC.[8][12][20] Some of the glass tubes recovered are fire-closed at one end and are partially inflated by blowing through the open end while still hot to form a small bottle; thus they are considered as a rudimentary form of blowpipe.[9]

Hence, tube blowing not only represents the initial attempts of experimentation by glassworkers at blowing glass, it is also a revolutionary step that induced a change in conception and a deep understanding of glass.[21] Such inventions swiftly eclipsed all other traditional methods, such as casting and core-forming, in working glass.

Roman Empire

Roman glass hydria from Baelo Claudia (M.A.N. 1926-15-287) 01
Roman blown glass hydria from Baelo Claudia (4th century AD)
Glassworking England 1858
A glassworks in England in 1858. During the Industrial Revolution, techniques for mass-produced glassware were improved.
Glassworking and glassblowing
Glassblowing production methods in England in 1858

The invention of glassblowing coincided with the establishment of the Roman Empire in the 1st century BC, which enhanced the spread and dominance of this new technology.[4][22] Glassblowing was greatly supported by the Roman government (although Roman citizens could not be "in trade", in particular under the reign of Augustus), and glass was being blown in many areas of the Roman world.[11][23] On the eastern borders of the Empire, the first large glass workshops were set up by the Phoenicians in the birthplace of glassblowing in contemporary Lebanon and Israel as well as in the neighbouring province of Cyprus.[12]

Ennion for example, was among one of the most prominent glassworkers from Lebanon of the time. He was renowned for producing the multi-paneled mold-blown glass vessels that were complex in their shapes, arrangement and decorative motifs.[11][12][13] The complexity of designs of these mold-blown glass vessels illustrated the sophistication of the glassworkers in the eastern regions of the Roman Empire. Mold-blown glass vessels manufactured by the workshops of Ennion and other contemporary glassworkers such as Jason, Nikon, Aristeas, and Meges, constitutes some of the earliest evidence of glassblowing found in the eastern territories.[12][24]

Eventually, the glassblowing technique reached Egypt and was described in a fragmentary poem printed on papyrus which was dated to 3rd century AD.[8][25] The Roman hegemony over the Mediterranean areas resulted in the substitution of glassblowing for earlier Hellenistic casting, core-forming and mosaic fusion techniques.[1] The earliest evidence of blowing in Hellenistic work consists of small blown bottles for perfume and oil retrieved from the glass workshops on the Greek island of Samothrace and at Corinth in mainland Greece which were dated to the 1st century AD.[12]

Later, the Phoenician glassworkers exploited their glassblowing techniques and set up their workshops in the western territories of the Roman Empire, first in Italy by the middle of the 1st century AD. Rome, the heartland of the Empire, soon became a major glassblowing center, and more glassblowing workshops were subsequently established in other provinces of Italy, for example Campania, Morgantina and Aquileia.[1][12][26] A great variety of blown glass objects, ranging from unguentaria (toiletry containers for perfume) to cameo, from tableware to window glass, were produced.

From there, escaping craftsmen (who had been forbidden to travel) otherwise advanced to the rest of Europe by building their glassblowing workshops in the north of the Alps (which is now Switzerland), and then at sites in northern Europe in present-day France and Belgium.[22][27][28]

One of the most prolific glassblowing centers of the Roman period was established in Cologne on the river Rhine in Germany by late 1st century BC. Stone base molds and terracotta base molds were discovered from these Rhineland workshops, suggesting the adoption and the application of mold-blowing technique by the glassworkers.[13] Besides, blown flagons and blown jars decorated with ribbing, as well as blown perfume bottles with letters CCAA or CCA which stand for Colonia Claudia Agrippiniensis, were produced from the Rhineland workshops.[12][22][27] Remains of blown blue-green glass vessels, for example bottles with a handle, collared bowls and indented beakers, were found in abundance from the local glass workshops at Poetovio and Celeia in Slovenia.[29]

Surviving physical evidence, such as blowpipes and molds which are indicative of the presence of blowing, is fragmentary and limited. Pieces of clay blowpipes were retrieved from the late 1st century AD glass workshop at Avenches in Switzerland.[8] Clay blowpipes, also known as mouthblowers, were made by the ancient glassworkers due to the accessibility and availability of the resources before the introduction of the metal blowpipes. Hollow iron rods, together with blown vessel fragments and glass waste dating to approximately 4th century AD, were recovered from the glass workshop in Mérida of Spain, as well as in Salona in Croatia.[12][27]

Middle Ages

The glass blowing tradition was carried on in Europe from the medieval period through the Middle Ages to the Renaissance in the demise of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD. During the early medieval period, the Franks manipulated the technique of glassblowing by creating the simple corrugated molds and developing the claws decoration techniques.[30][31] Blown glass objects, such as the drinking vessels that imitated the shape of the animal horn were produced in the Rhine and Meuse valleys, as well as in Belgium. The Byzantine glassworkers made mold-blown glass decorated with Christian and Jewish symbols in Jerusalem between late 6th century and the middle of the 7th century AD.[31][32] Mold-blown vessels with facets, relief and linear-cut decoration were discovered at Samarra in the Islamic lands.[31]

Renaissance Europe witnessed the revitalization of glass industry in Italy. Glassblowing, in particular the mold-blowing technique, was employed by the Venetian glassworkers from Murano to produce the fine glassware which is also known as cristallo.[32][33] The technique of glassblowing, coupled with the cylinder and crown methods, was used to manufacture sheet or flat glass for window panes in the late 17th century.[4] The applicability of glassblowing was so widespread that glass was being blown in many parts of the world, for example, in China, Japan and the Islamic Lands.

The Nøstetangen Museum at Hokksund, Norway shows how glass was made according to ancient tradition. The Nøstetangenglassworks had operated there from 1741 to 1777, producing table-glass and chandeliers in the German and English style.[34][35]

Recent developments

The "studio glass movement" began in 1962 when Harvey Littleton, a ceramics professor, and Dominick Labino, a chemist and engineer, held two workshops at the Toledo Museum of Art, during which they started experimenting with melting glass in a small furnace and creating blown glass art. Littleton promoted the use of small furnaces in individual artists studios([1]). This approach to glassblowing blossomed into a worldwide movement, producing such flamboyant and prolific artists as Dale Chihuly, Dante Marioni, Fritz Driesbach and Marvin Lipofsky as well as scores of other modern glass artists. Today there are many different institutions around the world that offer glassmaking resources for training and sharing equipment.

Working with large or complex pieces requires a team of several glassworkers, in a complex choreography of precisely timed movements. This practical requirement has encouraged collaboration among glass artists, in both semi-permanent and temporary working groups.

In literature

The writer Daphne du Maurier was descended from a family of glass-blowers in 18th century France, and she wrote about her forebears in the 1963 historical novel The Glass-Blowers.[36]

The subject of mystery novelist Donna Leon's Through a Glass, Darkly is the investigation of a crime in a Venetian glassworks on the island of Murano.[37]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Frank, S 1982. Glass and Archaeology. Academic Press: London. ISBN 0-12-265620-2
  2. ^ Freestone, I. (1991). "Looking into Glass". In S. Bowman (ed.) Science and the Past. pp.37–56. University of Toronto Press: Toronto & Buffalo. ISBN 0-7141-2071-5
  3. ^ Pollard, A.M. and C. Heron 2008. Archaeological Chemistry. The Royal Society of Chemistry ISBN 0-85404-262-8
  4. ^ a b c d e Cummings, K. 2002. A History of Glassforming. University of Pennsylvania Press ISBN 0812236475
  5. ^ Fischer, A; McGray, W.Patrick (1999). "Glass Production Activities as Practiced at Sepphoris, Israel (37 ?–? 1516)". Journal of Archaeological Science. 26 (8): 893. doi:10.1006/jasc.1999.0398.
  6. ^ Mariacher, G (1970). Glass: from Antiquity to the Renaissance. Middlesex: The Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited. (apparently out of print)
  7. ^ Chloe Zerwick; Corning Museum of Glass (May 1990). A short history of glass. H.N. Abrams in association with the Corning Museum of Glass.
  8. ^ a b c d Birgit Schlick-Nolte; E. Marianne (1994). Early glass of the ancient world: 1600 B.C.-A.D. 50 : Ernesto Wolf collection. Verlag Gerd Hatje. pp. 81–83. ISBN 978-3-7757-0502-8.
  9. ^ a b Gudenrath, W.; Whitehouse, D. (1990). "The Manufacture of the Vase of its Ancient Repair". Journal of Glass Studies. 32: 108–121. JSTOR 24188035.
  10. ^ Lightfoot, C.S. (1987). "A Group of early Roman Mould-Blown Flasks from the West". Journal of Glass Studies. 29: 11–18.
  11. ^ a b c d Price, J. (1991). "Decorated Mould-Blown Glass Tablewares in the First century AD". In M. Newby & K. Painter (eds.) Roman Glass: Two Centuries of Art and Invention. pp. 56–75. The Society of Antiquaries of London: London ISBN 0-85431-255-2
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i Tatton-Brown, V. (1991). "The Roman Empire". In H. Tait (ed.) Five Thousand Years of Glass. pp. 62–97. British Museum Press: London ISBN 0-8122-1888-4
  13. ^ a b c Wright, K. (2000). "Leaf Beakers and Roman Mould-blown Glass Production in the First Century AD". Journal of Glass Studies. 42: 61–82.
  14. ^ Taylor, M. & D. Hill 1998. Making Roman Glass Today. In The Colchester Archaeologist 11
  15. ^ Cuneaz, G. (2003). "Introduction". In R.B. Mentasti, R. Mollo, P. Framarin, M. Sciaccaluga & A. Geotti (eds.) Glass Through Time: history and technique of glassmaking from the ancient world to the present. pp. 11–30. Skira Editore: Milan ISBN 978-88-8491-345-6
  16. ^ Purchasing Agent: Magazine of Centralized Buying. Purchasing agent Company. 1919-01-01.
  17. ^ Marvering.
  18. ^ Martinez-Sève, L (2012). Ghirshman, Roman. Encyclopaedia Iranica Vol. X, Fasc. 6, pp. 583-586
  19. ^ شیشه‌گری (In Persian: Glassblowing) fa:شیشه‌گری
  20. ^ Avigad, N (1983). Discovering Jerusalem. Nashville. ISBN 0-8407-5299-7
  21. ^ Israeli, Y. (1991). "The Invention of Blowing". In M. Newby & K. Painter (eds.) Roman Glass: Two Centuries of Art and Invention. pp. 46–55. The Society of Antiquaries of London: London ISBN 0-85431-255-2
  22. ^ a b c Vose, R.H. (1989). Glass. Collins Archaeology: London. ISBN 0-85223-714-6
  23. ^ Isings, C. 1957. Roman Glass: from dated finds. Archaeologica Traiectina. J.B. Wolters: Groningen.
  24. ^ Hőricht, L.A.S. (1991). "Syrian Elements among the Glass from Pompeii". In M. Newby & K. Painter (eds.) Roman Glass: two centuries of art and invention. pp. 76–85. The Society of Antiquaries of London: London ISBN 0-85431-255-2
  25. ^ Coles, R.A. 1983. The Oxyrhynchus Papyri 50. Egypt Exploration Society for the British Academy: London.
  26. ^ Grose, D.F. (1982). "The Hellenistic and Early Roman Glass from Morgantina (Serra Orlando), Sicily". Journal of Glass Studies. 24: s 20–29.
  27. ^ a b c Allen, D. (1998). "Roman Glass in Britain". Shire Archaeology No. 76. CTT Printing Series Ltd.: Pembrokeshire.
  28. ^ Price, J. (2000). "Roman Glass Production in Western Europe". In M-D Nenna (ed.) La Route Du Verre: ateliers primaries et secondaires du second millenaire av. J-C au Moyen Age. pp. 123–124. Maison de l’Orient Mediterranean: Paris
  29. ^ Lazar, I. 2006. Glass finds in Slovenia and neighbouring areas. In Journal of Roman Archaeology 19: 299–342.
  30. ^ Tatton-Brown, V. (1991). "Early Medieval Europe AD 400 – 1066". In H. Tait (ed.) Five Thousand Years of Glass. pp. 98–111. British Museum Press: London. ISBN 0-8122-1888-4
  31. ^ a b c Vose, R.H. (1989). "From Dark Ages to the Fall of Constantinople". In D. Klein & W. Lloyd (eds.) The History of Glass. pp. 39–66. Macdonald & Co. (Publishers) Ltd.: ISBN 0-85613-516-X
  32. ^ a b Tait, H. (1994). "Europe from the Middle Ages to Industrial Revolution". In H. Tait (ed.) Five Thousand Years of Glass. pp. 145–187. British Museum Press: London ISBN 0-8122-1888-4
  33. ^ Wood, P. (1989). "The Tradition from Medieval to Renaissance". In D. Klein & W. Lloyd (eds.) The History of Glass. pp. 67–92. Macdonald & Co. (Publishers) Ltd.: ISBN 0-85613-516-X
  34. ^ Nøstetangen Glassworks (Nøstetangen).
  35. ^ Gamle Sorenskrivergaarden (Nøstetangen) Archived 2012-03-24 at the Wayback Machine.
  36. ^
  37. ^

External links

American craft

American craft is craft work produced by independent studio artists, working with traditional craft materials and/or processes such as wood, woodworking or furniture making, glass or glassblowing, clay or ceramics, textiles, metal or metalworking. Studio craft works tend to either serve or allude to a functional or utilitarian purpose, though they are as often as not handled and exhibited in ways similar to visual art objects.

Art glass

Art glass is an item that is made, generally as an artwork for decoration but often also for utility, from glass, sometimes combined with other materials. Techniques include stained glass windows, leaded lights (also called leadlights), glass that has been placed into a kiln so that it will mould into a shape, glassblowing, sandblasted glass, and copper-foil glasswork. In general the term is restricted to relatively modern pieces made by people who see themselves as artists who have chosen to work in the medium of glass and both design and make their own pieces as fine art, rather than traditional glassworker craftsmen, who often produce pieces designed by others, though their pieces certainly may form part of art. Studio glass is another term often used for modern glass made for artistic purposes. Art glass has grown in popularity in recent years with many artists becoming famous for their work; and, as a result, more colleges are offering courses in glass work.


Bischofsgrün (English translation: "Bishopsgreen") is a municipality in the district of Bayreuth in Bavaria in Germany.

Bischofsgrün is situated within the Fichtelgebirge mountain range between the range's two largest mountains; Schneeberg (1051 m) and the Ochsenkopf (1024 m). The Ochsenkopf North Chairlift starts in Bischofsgrün and is one of two chair lifts that climb to the summit of the Ochsenkopf, making the town an ideal location for outdoor recreation year round. During the winter months tourists flock to the area for alpine skiing, cross country skiing, and sledding. During the summer, mountain biking and hiking are popular.

Bischofsgrün is supposedly the town where the art of glassblowing became a true industry. Glassblowing is no longer a necessity, but Bischofsgrün has become something of a tourist attraction, not for its growth but for its lack of it. While it does have some bucolic resorts set into foothills, it also still has a few farms, at least one microbrewery, and some impressive stone churches.

Bischofsgrün is located on White Main and is the starting point of the White Main branch of the Main-Radweg bicycle path which stretches about 600 km along the Main river until the mouth into the Rhine.

Blowpipe (tool)

The term blowpipe refers to one of several tools used to direct streams of gases into any of several working media.


In glassblowing, cane refers to rods of glass with color; these rods can be simple, containing a single color, or they can be complex and contain strands of one or several colors in pattern.

Caneworking refers to the process of making cane, and also to the use of pieces of cane, lengthwise, in the blowing process to add intricate, often spiral, patterns and stripes to vessels or other blown glass objects. Cane is also used to make murrine (singular ‘’murrina’’, sometimes called mosaic glass), thin discs cut from the cane in cross-section that are also added to blown or hot-worked objects. A particular form of murrine glasswork is millefiori (“thousand flowers”), in which many murrine with a flower-like or star-shaped cross-section are included in a blown glass piece.

Caneworking is an ancient technique, first invented in southern Italy in the second half of the third century BC, and elaborately developed centuries later on the Italian island of Murano.

Celebrity Solstice

Celebrity Solstice is the lead ship of the Solstice-class of cruise ships operated by Celebrity Cruises. Built by Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany, she was floated out on August 10, 2008, and christened by ocean scientist Professor Sharon L. Smith at a ceremony in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, on November 14, 2008. The first post-Panamax vessel in the Celebrity fleet, she features innovative interior design and onboard amenities, including an ocean-going live grass lawn, a glassblowing studio, and a 12 deck-high atrium.

Clarence Madison Dally

Clarence Madison Dally (1865–1904) was an American glassblower, noted as an assistant to Thomas Edison in his work on X-rays and as an early victim of radiation dermatitis and its complications.

Dante Marioni

Dante Marioni (born March 3, 1964 in Mill Valley, California, U.S.) is an American glass artist.

Glossary of glass art terms

A glossary of terms used in glass art

Annealing, The process of slowly cooling a blown or cast object to prevent the stresses of rapid cooling from cracking or damaging the object.

Cane, rods of glass with color, either single or multiple (see also zanfirico/twisted cane)

Casting, Any of several methods of forming glass in a mold, including the pouring of molten glass into a sand mold (sand casting) and the melting of glass cullet in a mold placed in a kiln (kiln casting).

Cullet, broken chunks of glass or waste glass suitable for melting or remelting.

Flameworking, alternate name lampworking, the technique of forming glass, from rods and tubes, using a bench top or handheld heat source, formerly lamps, more often today a bench-mounted oxy/propane torch, to shape and form the glass by glassblowing and with the use of tongs, forceps, knives and other small tools. Borosilicate glass is the most common form of glass to be manipulated using this technique.

Frit, crushed glass often melted onto other glass to produce patterns and color

Incalmo, the grafting or joining together, while still hot, of two separately blown glass [bubbles] to produce a single [bubble].

Knitted glass, incorporates the techniques of knitting, lost-wax casting, mold-making, and kiln-casting.

Latticino, Italian decorative glassblowing technique. Latticino refers to any glass piece created using colored glass canes.

Latticello A decorative glassblowing technique. A latticello is a complicated design where the glass artist uses a latticino to create a reticello like pattern. Although the latticino" and the reticello are both classic Italian techniques, the latticello is a modern-day twist on classic design.

Lehr, a specialized, temperature-controlled kiln for annealing glass.Mandrel, metal rod used to construct a glass bead around. When cooled and removed, the space occupied by the mandrel creates the hole through the bead.

Marver, a tool used in glassblowing A marver is a large flat table. The glass piece is rolled across is surface. It is used to not only shape the glass, but to remove heat as well. The rapid absorption of heat by the marver creates a stronger skin (surface tension) than the use of a wooden tool. Marver is derived from the word "marble." Marble was originally used in the construction of this specialized table. Modern marvers are made of steel, typically stainless steel. Lampworkers use small graphite marvers mounted on or near their torches.

Millefiori, an Italian term (a thousand flowers) describing a style of murrine defined by internal patterns made by layering a number of colors and shaping each with an optic mold while molten. This style of murrine results in designs that are often flower-like.Murrine, Italian term for patterns or images made in a glass cane (long rods of glass) that are revealed when cut or chopped in cross-sections.

Pate de verre, a paste of ground or crushed glass, and the technique of casting this material into a mold; also applied to a more general range of cast-glass objects.

Prunt, a small blob of glass fused to a piece of glass, often impressed with a pattern or stamp

Punty, occasionally pontil, a solid metal rod, around 5 feet long, used to hold an object being blown or hot-worked after it is removed from the blowpipe.Reticello, Italian decorative glassblowing technique. This involves the merging of two cane bubbles (one inside the other) in which the straight canes were twisted in opposite directions. Once merged, the opposingly twisted canes cross each other creating a net like pattern. If done the traditional way, small air bubbles will be trapped in a grid pattern between the crossing canes.

Rod, a rod of glass used as a raw material in forming and fusing glass

Twisty cane, a cane formed out of different coloured glass twisted together - also known as zanfirico cane

Vitreography (art form), a style of contained 3-dimensional scenes displayed in a shadow box frame.

Vitreography (printing technique), use of a 3⁄8-inch-thick (9.5 mm) float glass matrix instead of the traditional matrices of metal, wood or stone.Vitrigraph Pulling, pulling molten glass strings from a wall mounted kiln—called a vitrigraph kiln— usually into shapes such as spirals.

Zanfirico, Italian decorative glassblowing technique involving intricate patterns of colored glass canes arranged and twisted to comprise a pattern within a new single glass cane. These new patterned canes are then used to create a glass work. A synonym for zanfirico is vetro a retorti


Lampworking is a type of glasswork where a torch or lamp is primarily used to melt the glass. Once in a molten state, the glass is formed by blowing and shaping with tools and hand movements. It is also known as flameworking or torchworking, as the modern practice no longer uses oil-fueled lamps. Although lack of a precise definition for lampworking makes it difficult to determine when this technique was first developed, the earliest verifiable lampworked glass is probably a collection of beads thought to date to the fifth century BC. Lampworking became widely practiced in Murano, Italy in the 14th century. In the mid 19th century lampwork technique was extended to the production of paperweights, primarily in France, where it became a popular art form, still collected today. Lampworking differs from glassblowing in that glassblowing uses a furnace as the primary heat source, although torches are also used.

Early lampworking was done in the flame of an oil lamp, with the artist blowing air into the flame through a pipe. Most artists today use torches that burn either propane or natural gas, or in some countries butane, for the fuel gas, mixed with either air or pure oxygen as the oxidizer. Many hobbyists use MAPP gas in portable canisters for fuel and some use oxygen concentrators as a source of continuous oxygen.

Lampworking is used to create artwork, including beads, figurines, marbles, small vessels, Christmas tree ornaments, and much more. It is also used to create scientific instruments as well as glass models of animal and botanical subjects.

Lino Tagliapietra

Lino Tagliapietra (born 1934) is a Venetian glass artist who has also worked extensively in the United States. As a teacher and mentor, he has played a key role in the international exchange of glassblowing processes and techniques between the principal American centers and his native Murano, "but his influence is also apparent in China, Japan, and Australia—and filters far beyond any political or geographic boundaries."

Martin Demaine

Martin L. (Marty) Demaine (born 1942) is an artist and mathematician, the Angelika and Barton Weller artist in residence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Demaine attended Medford High School in Medford, Massachusetts. After studying glassblowing in England, he began his artistic career by blowing art glass in New Brunswick in the early 1970s. The Demaine Studio, located in Miramichi Bay and later at Opus Village in Mactaquac, was the first one-man glass studio in Canada, part of the international studio glass movement. Demaine's pieces from this period are represented in the permanent collections of half a dozen major museums including the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the National Gallery of Canada. Since joining MIT, Demaine has begun blowing glass again, as an instructor at the MIT Glass Lab; his newer work features innovative glassblowing techniques intended as a puzzle to his fellow glassblowers.Martin Demaine is the father of MIT Computer Science professor and MacArthur Fellow Erik Demaine; in 1987 (when Erik was six) they together founded the Erik and Dad Puzzle Company which distributed puzzles throughout Canada. Erik was home-schooled by Martin, and although Martin never received any higher degree than his high school diploma, his home-schooling caused Erik to be awarded a B.S. at age 14 and a Ph.D. and MIT professorship at age 20, making him the youngest professor ever hired by MIT.

The two Demaines continue to work closely together and have many joint works of both mathematics and art, including three pieces of mathematical origami in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; their joint mathematical works focus primarily on the mathematics of folding and unfolding objects out of flat materials such as paper and on the computational complexity of games and puzzles. Martin and Erik are also featured in the movie Between the Folds, a documentary on modern origami.

Demaine is a citizen of both Canada and the United States.

Meker–Fisher burner

A Meker–Fisher burner, or Meker burner, is a laboratory burner that produces multiple open gas flames, used for heating, sterilization, and combustion. It is used when laboratory work requires a hotter flame than attainable using a Bunsen burner, or used when a larger-diameter flame is desired, such as with an inoculation loop or in some glassblowing operations. The burner was introduced by French chemist Georges Méker in an article published in 1905.The Meker–Fisher burner heat output can be in excess of 12,000 BTU (13,000 kJ) per hour (about 3.5 kW) using LP gas. Flame temperatures of up to 1,100–1,200 °C (2,000–2,200 °F) are achievable. Compared with a Bunsen burner, the lower part of its tube has more openings with larger total cross-section, admitting more air and facilitating better mixing of air and gas. The tube is wider, and its top is covered with a plate mesh, which separates the flame into an array of smaller flames with a common external envelope, ensures uniform heating, and also preventing flashback to the bottom of the tube, which is a risk at high air-to-fuel ratios and limits the maximal rate of air intake in a Bunsen burner. The flame burns without noise, unlike the Bunsen or Teclu burners.


Melt may refer to:

Melting, in physics, the process of heating a solid substance to a liquid

Melt (manufacturing), the semi-liquid material used in steelmaking and glassblowing

Melt (geology), magma

Melt inclusions, a feature of igneous rock

Melt sandwich or cheese melt, a grilled sandwich

A name for meltwater, water released from the thawing of snow and ice

Royal Leerdam Crystal

Royal Leerdam Crystal, also known as Royal Leerdam, is the designing and glass blowing department of Dutch glassware producing factory, Glasfabriek Leerdam. The company was founded in 1765 as a manufacturer of bottles in the Dutch city of Leerdam.

Scientific glassblowing

Scientific glassblowing is a specialty field of glass blowing used in industry, science, art and design used in research and production. Scientific glassblowing has been used in chemical, pharmaceutical, electronic and physics research including Galileo’s thermometer, Thomas Edison’s light bulb, and vacuum tubes used in early radio, TV and computers. More recently, the field has helped advance fiber optics, lasers, atomic and subatomic particle research, advanced communications development and semiconductors. The field combined hand skills using lathes and torches with modern computer assisted furnaces, diamond grinding and lapping machines, lasers and ultra-sonic mills.

Simon Pearce

Simon Pearce is an Irish-American entrepreneur in glassblowing and pottery, who learned his trade in Kilkenny, Ireland.

Studio glass

Studio glass is the modern use of glass as an artistic medium to produce sculptures or three-dimensional artworks. The glass objects created are intended to make a sculptural or decorative statement. Their prices may range from a few hundred to hundreds of thousands of dollars (US). For the largest installations, the prices are in the millions.During the early 20th-century (before the early 1960s), contemporary glass art was generally made by teams of factory workers, taking glass from furnaces containing a thousand or more pounds. This form of glass art, of which Tiffany and Steuben in the U.S., Gallé in France and Hoya Crystal in Japan, Royal Leerdam Crystal in the Netherlands and Orrefors and Kosta Boda in Sweden are perhaps the best known, grew out of the factory system in which all glass objects were hand or mold blown by teams.

Modern glass studios use a great variety of techniques in creating glass artworks, including:



Glass casting,


Glass fusing,

Pâte de verre,

Stained glass.

Glass production techniques
Commercial techniques
Artistic and historic techniques
Natural processes
See also

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