By Andy Darnley
Glassblowing is a technique that takes years of training and practice to master. It’s a glass-shaping process that dates back more than 4,000 years and is used by artisans to create items that range from works of art to functional vessels. A version of this technique, called scientific glassblowing, is used to create the tubes and other glass apparatus needed for lab testing and research. People can take classes that show them the glassblowing process and allow them to create items that are typically small enough to place in a gift bag or carry on an elevator in one’s purse. While this is fun, there’s also a great need for individuals who are interested in learning the craft on a professional level. But whether one’s interest is professional or otherwise, glassblowing is a fascinating technique that’s worth exploring.
History of Glassblowing: Who Was First?
Individuals interested in learning about the first glassblowers will find the answer on this page. The article was written by Joe Wheeler, who is a scientific glassblower.
The History of Glass
Glass is often taken for granted, but its history is an interesting and long one. This article on the website for the Seattle Glassblowing Studio reviews the history of glass and the invention of modern glassblowing. At the bottom of the page, site visitors will find a glossary of basic glassblowing terms.
The Glassblowing Process
People who are interested in the art of glassblowing can visit this page on the Sacramento Art Glass website to read about the process of blowing glass. The page outlines equipment and steps and also includes images of artists as they go through the glassblowing process.
The Glassblowing Process at the Historic Jamestown Glasshouse
On this National Park Service page, site visitors can read about the process used for glassblowing. The page also includes a large historic drawing that depicts craftsmen at the 17th century Jamestown Glasshouse in the process of practicing this technique.
The Museum of Glass provides this document that discusses teamwork and glassblowing. People who click this link can read about the different members of a glassblower’s team, including the gaffer, the pole turner, and the colorist, who is considered an optional team member.
The Wonderous Process of Glassblowing (PDF)
Whether a person is interested in taking a glassblowing class or they just want to read about how it’s done, they should click this link to read each of the steps. The page also includes images of artists during each step of the process.
Glassblowing and Glass History
To learn about the history of glass and glassblowing, click this link. Information includes the structure and physical properties of glass, the compatibility of different glasses, and basic glass-working equipment.
The Science of Glassblowing
Glassblowing is a craft that requires not only skill but also an understanding about glass, what it’s made of, and how it can be crafted.
Workplace Hazards in Glassblowing
Professional glassblowers face a number of hazards when working with heated glass. This page outlines these dangers.
How Glassblowing Works
The information on this page outlines the necessary equipment and techniques and discusses artists who create blown art.
Invention of Glassblowing
Click this link to read a brief passage that examines when glassblowing was invented and what methods were used.
Glass Manufacturing: Glassblowing
Visit this page on the British Glass website to read a brief outline of glassblowing, the required tools, and how the process is done.
Glassblowing is a craft that dates back to the 1st century B.C. Click this link to read about this technique and methods that are currently and traditionally used.
The Nearly Lost Art of Scientific Glassblowing
Scientific glassblowing is a necessary skill that fewer people are practicing.
Glass Technique: Free-Blown Glass
Glassblowing is a fascinating process that creates everything from beautiful works of art to drinking glasses and other products. This page on the website of the J. Paul Getty Museum features a video of the glassblowing process in action.
Glassblowing Makes a Comeback in Science
Discover how glassblowing applies to science by clicking on this link to an ABC News article on the topic. The page discusses the birth of glassblowing, how it contributes to science, and the related salary range.
Read about scientific glassblowing and find out what it does, how it’s done, and who does it.
History of Glass-Making
There is very little historical information about the origins of glass-making. This article on the Louisiana Tech University website talks about what is known about the first efforts at making glass as well as the scientific applications of glassblowing, such as making glass containers for chemistry experiments.
Glassblowing: A Hot, Creative Art Form for Students
According to an article in Kalamalama, the Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) student newspaper, the Romans were the first to produce glass. The article discusses glassblowing as it has evolved from the Renaissance to today.
Visit the Corning Museum of Glass to watch videos about glassblowing.
Crafting Glass Ornaments
Learn how glass ornaments are made using the glassblowing technique by clicking on this link. The video on this page shows glassblowing in action.
Glass: Stephen Rolfe Powell
Educators who are teaching their students about glassblowing may visit this PBS Learning Media site to watch a video on artist Stephen Rolfe Powell. In the video, the artist discusses his work as he creates a piece with his team. The page includes support materials, including information about the activity and educational standards.
The Art and Science of Glassblowing
The Guardian offers an article about a craftsman named Kiva Ford who specializes in creating scientific glassware.
East Falls Glassworks in Philadelphia provides two videos on this page about the process of glassblowing.
Creating glass items for aesthetic display and practical use is an ancient art. The Art Career Project presents an article here that explains what glassblowing is, a typical glassblowing work environment, an overview of what education is required to enter the profession, as well as salary expectations and job prospects in the industry.
African Voices Inspiring Art
Click this link to visit a page on the CNN website that features a video about a master glassblower in Swaziland, Africa. In the video, he discusses training new glassblowers, how he learned, and his successful business.
According to the Canadian Museum of History, humans first started making glass 5,000 years ago in ancient Egypt. This article talks about the history of glassblowing, what materials are used in the process, and how automation has changed the industry in modern times.
Murano, a Mecca of Glass
Visit the CBS website for an article and video about the making of glass from the perspective of artisans in Murano, Italy.
Craftsmen Use 3,000-Year-Old Methods to Make Exquisite Art
The Daily Mail features an article here about factory workers in England who produce works of art in the form of glass to sell around the world.
Watch a Glassblower Make a Horse Out of Molten Glass in Under Two Minutes
The island of Murano in Italy has long been home to master glassblowers. This video shows glass being turned into a horse by a professional glassblowing artisan who practices there.