Glass Techniques I.
Photography: Bet Orten
Handmade glass is one of the unique historical crafts that has survived to the present day in an almost unchanged form. Not only the result of its production is absolutely unique, but also the process itself. The chosen technology is a tool for artistic expression and often happens to be experimental, which leads to discovering new methods and creating some extraordinary pieces.
The most well-known technique is the glass blowing with a blowpipe dated back to the 1st century B.C.
There are two main methods of production: free-blown and mold-blown.
The first original method for working with glass was free-blown glass. This process consists of hand shaping of the preblown glass mass called „gather“.
Although this method is quite physically demanding, it allows the artist to control the whole process and to get the freedom to experiment with the glass design.
The more ideal solution for creating larger series is mold-blowing. The molten glass is handled on the end of a blowpipe, immediately placed into a pre-designed mold of wood, metal, or other special material, and then blown to the appropriate measure. When cooled slightly, the glass can be removed and taken to an annealing oven that allows the glass to cool completely over several hours.
Mold-blowing is more commonly used for functional glass art pieces, like tableware, or to produce uniform reproductions of the same design.
The glass can be also shaped by glass-casting. The molten glass is cast on or into a mold – metal (aluminum, cast iron, bronze), sand, or gypsum. The surface of the solidifying glass mass remains rough, however, when cooled down, the shape can still be ground, polished, and further worked by using various techniques.
It‘s well known for the sculptural character of the final pieces unrepeatable in their details. The glass can be also cast on the sand or into the plaster mold that results in the special structures of its surface.