Glass blowing is an ancient art form, originally used for making bottles and tableware. In modern times there are scientific applications for glass blowing, but the technique is more commonly used to create decorative objects. Glass blowers, also called glassmiths or gaffers, use three separate apparatuses or divisions of a furnace to gather the molten glass, reheat it to 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the creative process, and to gradually cool the final product.
Traditionally, glass blowing has been used for bottles, especially small ones for perfume and for tableware such as stemmed glasses. Hand-blown stemware is still a popular outlet for glass blowing artists; decorative art and glassware used in scientific settings, such as chemistry labs, are other uses for this talent.
Glass blowing is taught at specific schools, art studios, and art galleries across the U.S. Prospective glass blowers may find undergraduate fine arts programs with a concentration in glass that includes glass blowing techniques. Training under a glass blowing professional or taking non-credit classes or workshops in glass blowing are also ways that glass blowers can hone their skills.
Glass blowing involves a very specific skill set. It requires patience, heat tolerance, and willingness to work in potentially hazardous conditions. Glass blowing technique involves handling molten glass, as well as a variety of tools, metals, and dyes for decoration and scientific notation.