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Glass blowing is like nothing else you've ever seen. There's suspense, tension, danger -- after all, they are working with ...
fire -- and of course craftsmanship that you would not believe. And all of that to make a beautiful piece of art that is so fragile it breaks with one wrong move. Meghan Carter of http://www.AsktheDecorator.com takes you to Louisville Glassworks to see how glass artists blow glass.
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Meghan Carter: Glass Blowing is one of the most well known glass shaping techniques and I’m here today at Louisville Glassworks to see how it’s done.
I’m hitting the road searching for answers and finding great design. It’s a quest for beauty, function and of course inspiration.
Glass bowling is like nothing else I’ve ever seen. There’s suspense, tension, danger. After all, they are work in the fire. And of course craftsmanship that you would not believe and all of that to make a beautiful piece of art that is so fragile. It breaks with one wrong move. Needless to say, I could have watch in all day long. But I eventually had to face my job off the ground and do my job. Learn about the process. And here’s what I found out from glass artist Casey Hyland. Glass bowling started centuries ago as a Roman art.
Casey Hyland: And I believe Rome is really the one that kind of like if we really go back like 2000 years. I mean you would see a setup very similar to this.
Meghan Carter: Really?
Casey Hyland: I mean, yes as far as like hand tools, the bench, sort of the whole working environment, obviously, they would not have controllers etcetera.
Meghan Carter: Yes.
Casey Hyland: You know on their furnaces like we have them but not much—
Meghan Carter: But very similar?
Casey Hyland: Not much has changed over the—I would say the 2000 years.
Meghan Carter: That’s incredible.
Casey Hyland: It is pretty incredible. Well, that is one of the captivating—I think one of the more captivating moments about glass blowing is that not only is it fire art but it is a relatively, ancient might be the best but it is in old art.
Meghan Carter: And the fire art it is. Glassblowing artist work in what is called a hot shop which is a very appropriate name.
Casey Hyland: This is what’s considered a hot shop.
Meghan Carter: Yes, it’s really hot right here.
Casey Hyland: Yes, right in front of this with the square door. This is the furnace and this is where the material is being held. In this case, we have like a large ceramic bowl that’s actually holding a molding material. So, have you checked out and see how it is?
Meghan Carter: No. I don’t think I want to. I feel like I have a breath—oh my God that is hot.
Yes, I felt like my face was melting off.
Casey Hyland: So, it’s pretty warm and yet some—
Meghan Carter: How do you get by that all day?
Casey Hyland: Just keep the door shut as much as possible. So, the working temperature of the furnace is about 2100°F.
Meghan Carter: Is it miserable in the summer?
Casey Hyland: It’s warm. Winter is nice.
Meghan Carter: I heard that it gets a 110 in here in the summer.
Casey Hyland: I believe it.
Meghan Carter: Oh my gosh! That’s amazing.
Casey Hyland: It is amazing. And then once we’ve gathered the material from the furnace, we used this other piece of equipment that’s also hot with the surround doors. We call it a glory hole or like a reheating drum. And again, the temperature in this part is actually a little bit hotter than the furnace, probably around 2250°F and this allows us to make larger pieces into work at least for a long time. So, like for example if we wanted to put color on the piece, like we have with the lamp fixture. Well, we can come over here with the molding material gathered. In this case like colored glass chunks, now we can go back and see this reheating drum and melt it in inorder to continue through the piece. The way that we start, almost every piece we start with a hollow too that it called blowpipes. So, this is like a big metal straw basically.
Meghan Carter: I know. It does look like they’re doing something illegal when they used they use the blowpipe. But trust me, glassblowing is perfectly wholesome.
Casey Hyland: And on the tip of this, this is where we‘ll actually gather the glass. Just pretty much just like honey unto this is to make just like a little ball.
Meghan Carter: So then, does it get hot down there when you’re blowing it?
Casey Hyland: Well—
Meghan Carter: With the metal.
Casey Hyland: It can get hot. I mean we do cool it down with water tha