Basic Glass Blowing

1Today I’m going to show you how to blow a simple vessel clearly from glass. We will need a few things and those are a studio hot shop where we get our furnace and equipment along with some handy tools. I’m going to take you through all the steps from gathering glass on an iron to shaping and sizing the piece that will get it to the proper dimensions.  Finally we will learn how to transfer and finish the piece before we need to place them into the annealer. So the material we are using today is a mixture of some different things which are soda, silica, and lye. These materials are melted at about 2000 degrees Fahrenheit and kept in the furnace. For this large
2reason we have to take safety very seriously. There are a few ways we enforce safety in glass blowing which can be dangerous. We usually wear cotton clothing; we wear shoes that completely cover our feet and we always wear a pair of safety glasses to keep the glass from popping and hitting us in the eye. So if you want to get started on this process it’s best to find a hot shop studio that has all of the equipment. The furnace, the glory hole, the annealer, that way you know you’ll have some good hands on instruction from people who know what they are doing. Working in a safe environment is very important and you’ll have that in an established hot shop.

3So here we are in the glass blowing studio and now we are going to learn how to gather glass on a blowing iron. Start off with a heated blow pipe. The end of the iron should be nice and glowing orange. Hot glass won’t stick to a cold surface so we always preheat the iron before we go in to get our first gather of clear glass. So open up the furnace and just reach your iron in until the tip reaches the reflection of the glass and makes contact, then slowly turn the blow pipe. Turning the pipe about two times should work well. Now you can bring your iron back to level and gently pull it out and you have your first gathering of clear glass. Make sure you continuously turn the iron because the glass will sag to the floor if you stop. It’s like having honey on the tip of a butter knife; you need to keep the glass centered and turning it constantly will ensure that. Let’s take it to the marver now and cool it a little bit. After that we will do the blow and cap. The marving plate I’m using here is made from a sheet of steel which I will just roll my glass tip across. Your goal is to get the glass on the end about two times longer than it is wide as far as moving the first gather of glass. Cool the sides first then cool the tip a little bit. For the rest of the instruction on glass blowing keep watching the remainder of this video then go ahead and watch the rest of the videos in this series.4