Glass blowing is a delicate, demanding and tricky art. Yet, it is one of the most unique, most beautiful, and most rewarding pastimes when mastered. It allows the artist to unleash their full inventiveness and skill to create stunning art that is beautiful, long lasting, and original. No matter what glasswork you’re looking to create glass blowing is how you achieve it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most asked questions that we get. They’re not the only ones we are getting, but the most asked of them, so it’s worth checking them out. Also, this list is a work in progress and we update it as soon as new questions come in, so be sure to check it out regularly.

How To

How do I make the glass stick to the pipe?
You need a pipewarmer. Pipewarmers are tools specifically created for warming the pipes and punties.

How do I fix bottom-heavy pieces?
You need to angle the pipe up. Gravity plays a huge role in glassblowing so use it to your advantage whenever you can.

How do I remove the piece from the punty?
You need to continuously rotate the punty while tapping it with whatever small utensil you have available at that time.

Tools & Equipment

Can I use welder’s glasses instead of special glass blowing eyewear?
Normally, you could. But you’re risking your eyesight. Besides, welder’s glasses are hard to see through as they’re too dark. For your safety – and to also see better – stick to didymium glasses, which are specifically created for glass blowers.

What ingredients do I need for my piece?
Glass and sand (not beach sand, but a special type of sand that contains no impurities) are the main ingredients in glass blowing. They are not the only ingredients that go into a glassblowing piece, but they are the starting point of any glass object you are making.

Classes

How much does a glass blowing class cost?
The fees vary based on things like location, schedule, students to instructor ratio, what techniques are being taught to you, and many other things actually. Typically, though, you are expected to pay anywhere from $20 to $60 or more per hour, depending on the criteria mentioned above. Some studios do provide options for sliding scale payments, however, so it’s a good idea to give them a call, or inquire about this option on their website if paying the fee upfront is outside of your possibilities.

Why would I take classes?

For many reasons…

1. They are perfect for learning the rudimentary elements of molding glass. In these classes you will learn the importance of dexterity, patience, and steady hands as you spin the glass on your punty or insert it into the glory hole for reheating;

2. They provide you with a setting to ask questions and receive critiques, things you don’t have access to when you’re performing this art at home, for example;

3. They also provide you with a safe area in which you can make mistakes with little to no outcome. As mistakes are inevitable, especially when handling and shaping hot, molten glass, it is crucial that you learn not only how to prevent these mistakes, but how to react to them and also how to clean up the mess afterward. And these things can easily be done in a glass blowing class;

4. One of the best advantages to attending classes is that their assignments are usually small enough that you’ll be able to enjoy within hours of making them. This makes the classes an ideal place to create gifts, dishes, or simply bits of art to brighten your home;

5. Last but not least, they are great for learning brand new techniques or for introducing new tools or supplies.

Miscellaneous

What do I do with the scraps of molten glass that are left from my project?
You throw them into the hot pot (a fireproof, metallic container that gathers scraps of molten glass).

What do you recommend my first piece should be?
Beads. They’re the easiest to make, only needing a bit of knowledge and a few tools. They’re also the fastest to make, allowing you to take home the very same day that you’re making them.

Why is my bowl lopsided?
This usually happens when some of the glass has been heated to a higher degree than the rest. When this happens we recommend that you start over instead of trying to fix the problem. It’s much easier this way when you’re first starting out.

What is annealing?
Annealing is the process of cooling down your finished piece in the annealer to keep it from breaking. The annealer is also called cooling oven, annealing kiln, annealing furnace, and annealing oven.

What does “burn out” refer to?
“Burn out” is the process of pre-firing a mold or material in a vented kiln to remove, with heat, unwanted contaminants.

What is “frit casting”?
“Frit casting” is a simple glassblowing technique in which a mold filled with frit is heated until the frit fuses into the melted glass, creating simple pieces of art, quickly.