Making the Cylinder for Glassblowing

Creating a cylinder in glass blowing; learn these things and more in this instructional arts and crafts video series on glass blowing.

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Video Transcript

Hi! I’m Jim McKelvey with Thrid Degree Glass Factory in St. Louis. You can check us out on the web at Today, we’re going to learn about glassblowing for We’re going to turn this basic bubble now into a cylinder, which is probably the best first shape to learn first. Cylinders also make good drinking glasses, so it might be a good first project for you. The first thing we have to do is get this bubble shape to elongate. The easiest way to do that is to use gravity. Gravity is one of the best shaping tools in the studio. What I’m going to do is I’m going to heat up the bubble, and I’m going to heat it up pretty much back to this spot right here. This whole bottom part is going to be hot, and when I come out of the glory hole, I’m going to hold it down so that the piece naturally wants to elongate. This is generally one of the rules you should follow when you’re shaping hot glass, and that is try to use the least invasive way of shaping the glass. One of the best ways to shape glass is to use gravity or centrifugal force. By spinning it, or holding it down, I can encourage the glass to make the shape that I want and never touch it with a tool. The less you touch the glass, the less chance you have of leaving a mark that will be in the final piece. So, what I’m doing right now is I’m heating up the entire bubble. I know when the bubble is about the right temperature because I’ll start to see it sag in the glory hole. So I watch the piece, and as it starts to soften I look for signs of collapse. It’s just starting to soften up. I’m going to heat it up just a little more. Now, it’s getting nice and soft. I don’t want it so that it collapses. All I do is hold it down. As I come back to the bench, it’s starting to make that cylinder for me. I’m going to have my assistant Fern come in and paddle the bottom. Okay, panel on please. Stop, thank you. Okay, well that worked pretty well. It didn’t work quite as well it could, because if I’d have a third assistant, I would have that third assistant cap the back of the pipe to trap some of that air. Without trapping the air, you tend to get a little bit of an indentation in the piece. This is pretty much what we want for a basic cylinder. I’m going to straighten out those little bumps by rolling it on the marver one time.


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