What Women Make in Glassblowing
Get inspired with the best achievements in the art of glass
Menu

ancient-glass-blowing

First of all, early glass was considered valuable as glass in ancient times, because of the extraordinary level of skill required to make glass. The practice of glass dates back to early 3000 B.C. in Egypt and Mesopotamia. The glass was molded by natural ingredients, such as molten sand. And as a result, people for some thousands of years went to countries along the Mediterranean Sea for master glassmakers. During those ancient times, it was a really hard process in making glass, and the pieces were small and expensive. And furthermore, the glass pieces were mostly used by aristocrats and priests. Approximately 30 B.C. in Rome, glass molding was now glassblowing. The Romans would shape glass by blowing into it with a blowpipe when it was warm, and this techniques is still being used today by glassblowers.

Glassblowing was first evident in Chogha Zanbil by Roman Ghirshman. Many of their glass bottles were found during the excavations of the site of the second millennium. There were a collection dated from 37 to 4 B.C. found from a glass shop of different fragments including glass rods, small blown bottles, and glass tubes. These items were located in a mikvah, which is a ritual bath in the Old City of Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter. They are considered to be a primary blowpipe form because many of the recovered glass tubes has a fire closed end, and the open end has an appearance of being blown while still hot – leaving it partially inflated.

These time periods of blowing glass mark a revolutionary step to inducing change in conception of glass along with a deep understanding of it. Also, these types of inventions quickly infiltrated into other traditional methods to work glass, such as core forming and casting.

roman-glassThe Roman Empire coincided with the glassblowing invention during 1st century B.C. This enhanced the dominance and spread of this technology. Glassblowing was supported greatly by the Roman government, and glass was blown in a lot places in the Roman world. On the eastern side of the empire, the first, huge glass shop was set up by Phoenicians in contemporary Israel and Lebanon where glassblowing was born, and it was in the province of Cyprus. Also, in the 1st century A.D., Hellenistic work of glassblowing was first evident, and it consisted of small bottles for oil and perfume that were retrieved from the glass shops in Corinth, Greece, and in Samothrace, Greece. The glassblowing technique reached Egypt eventually afterwards, and a poem was fragmentary printed on their papyrus dating around 3rd century A.D. Also, the western territories of the Roman Empire finally received the glassblowing methods from the Phoenician glass workers. The first area was Italy by the middle of 1st century A.D. And as it spread throughout Italy, a variety of glassblowing objects were produced, such as tableware, and glass windows. Then glassblowing shops spread into the north of the Alps (Switzerland), and other northern European areas, which include Belgium and France.

glass-blowing-during-the-middle-agesDuring the middle ages, the glassblowing tradition spread throughout Europe from medieval period throughout the middle ages and the renaissance period. During early medieval period, the glassblowing was changed by the creation of ridged and simple molds. The claws decorating techniques were introduced. The drinking vessels were shaped like an animal horn in Belgium, Meuse Valley, and Rhine Valley. The glassworkers of Byzantine created molded blown glass with decorations of Jewish and Christian symbols in Jerusalem during late 6th century to mid-70th century A.D. Additionally, molded blown vessels with decorations of facets and linear-cut and relief were found at Samarra in the Islamic Lands. With renaissance Europe, the glass industry was revitalized in Italy. Venetian glassworkers from Murano used glass blowing, particularly mold blowing, to produce fine glassware called Cristallo. In the late 17th century, the glassblowing methods along with the crown and cylinder techniques, were used to manufacture flat or sheet glass for window panes. Glassblowing was becoming so popular that it spread throughout the many parts of the world, such as the Islamic Lands, Japan, and China.

industrialrevoluion-glass-blowingDuring the Industrial Revolution, techniques for mass production in glassware improved. In 1858, there were glassblowing production methods in England, for instance, to produce different types of glassblowing objects to sell around different parts of the world.

In 1962, the studio glass movement began with two workshops held by Harvey Littleton at the Toledo Museum of Art. Harvey Littleton was a Dominick Labino, a ceramics professor, and a engineer and chemist. This movement started the experimentation of melting glass into a small furnace to create blown glass art. He promoted the usage of small furnaces at various artist’s’ studios. And as a result, this glassblowing approach grew into a worldwide movement. Modern glass artists all around are prolific and flamboyant with the artistic technique. Also, there are now sharing equipment and training of this art offered at different institutions. A team of several glassworkers work with complex and large pieces, and with precise and timely movements that include complex choreography for this type of art.