Finishing the Vase

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 13,721
    Glass blower Todd Hansen demonstrates how to blow glass and finish the vase.

    Todd Hansen : Hi, I am Todd Hansen. We are at the Art of Fire-Contemporary Glass Studio. Today, I am showing you how to blow glass and what we are going to do now we have got the piece transferred to the punty and now we are going to finish it. So here we go. Let's finish the top half of this piece. Now this glass has been sitting out of the gloryhole for a little bit while we did the transfer, so I am just going to coax it into the heat gently. Now I have got the punty warm again and I will move back out so just the mouth and the shoulder of this piece are inside the gloryhole. That's the part I want to have moved, the mouth and the shoulders, so that's the part I am going to heat up. I will flash the bottom to keep it warm and I will heat the top again. Usually, when you make a blowing piece of glass you are working from the bottom up, you make the bottom first, set the sides, stick a punty to it, so you do not want that bottom to move on you. If you get the base of this piece too hot you may end up taking the bottom out of round, it may make the piece a little bit wobbly. So we keep the bottom warm by flashing and then we get the top half of the piece hot by focusing that heat, concentrating that heat just inside the gloryhole door. Now as I look through the clear glass, I can see that the mouth of this piece is starting to soften up a little bit. That sharp edge is gone now, the glass is starting to soften and pull back on so. Just take a few more seconds here just to heat. We will give it one more flash. Let's take it back to the bench now and use the jacks to open the mouth up just a little bit, lift off the 'O', point the mouth down slightly and now we will use the jacks on the inside of the mouth, just around and shape the piece a little bit. I am going to round it out. Then we use the back of the jacks, just to flatten and level the top of the piece off a bit. Then just a little bit of work, but we have got the little motion out of it. Let's go back and heat it up again. Do that one more time. Flash, as soon as you come back, keep the punty warm, keep the bottom warm. That punty is the only thing holding that glass to the rods so make sure that stays tight. That gets a little bit cold and brittle, sometimes the slightest vibration is all that's needed to knock the glass onto the floor. Focus heat on the top of the piece again where we want to move. Let's flash it again, just briefly inside the gloryhole door to keep the punty warm and the bottom warm. Now we are heating again across the top of the piece. Keep the glass on center by turning. Just stay focused on what you are doing and you should be able to keep the glass on center, nice and easy. Let's flash it one more time and take it back to the bench. Hang it down again, just slightly, keep the glass moving in the same direction. Let's use the jacks again. Again, across the bottom third of the mouth, just open the little bit. Now if we just point our thumb down towards the floor we can get a little bit of a flare into that piece. Let's take the jacks, open the blades a little bit and come across between the shoulder and the mouth and just scissor gently and just by turning the glass, applying a little bit of pressure, I am bringing the glass or the jacks out just slightly and that helps to smooth and contour that neckline between the shoulder and the mouth. Take the jacks away. It looks like a nice, finished piece. Let's give it one more flash and then we will put it in the annealer. So while moving in just one more time, we want to make sure this piece survives the transfer off the iron and into the annealer. So we will give it that last good flash. Let's take it back to the knock-off box. We are going to use a butter knife, just between the junction of the punty and the bottom of the piece. A couple of little taps to set a little fracture, take the hammer handle, give it a pop, then knock the glass right off. Punty in the bucket facing down, put the glove on, we will grab the piece. Turn around to the annealer, place it in and we are done. So now the piece is in the annealer, we are going to let that cool slowly overnight. In the morning we will take it out, sign it and take it home. If you are interested in glass blowing, find a studio that teaches you on a hands-on approach and always emphasizes safety.