Glass Blowing – Shaping the Piece on the Blowing Iron

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 20,897
    Glass blower Todd Hansen demonstrates how to shape the piece on the blowing iron when glass blowing.

    Todd Hansen : Hi, I am Todd Hansen we are at the Art of Fire-Contemporary Glass Blowing Studio and I am showing you how to blow a glass. Now we are going to learn how to shape the piece of glass on the blowing iron. What I am going to do now is heat the glass again at the gloryhole. This time I am going to flash the top half of this just to keep it warm. I am going to heat the bottom of it, so it will actually move. This is when we will start forming the shape of the piece. We have got our size, now we are going to go for the shape. Flash the neckline and now we are going to heat the bottom half of that piece.

    So taking about 15 seconds, get that bottom half nice and hot and now while I have got the neck and the moil out here, outside the gloryhole, that is going to cool off a little bit. So we want to make sure we flash that again. Flash it one more time. The flashing on this is really important. If we go back to the bench when it is time to make the transfer, if that neckline is too cold, when you come back to the gloryhole, you may actually see a crack running down the side of that body where it gets reintroduced to the gloryhole. So we want to make sure you keep the neck nice and warm. Splash it one more time, we are going to bring out this time and you swing gently like we are sweeping the floor. Here we go. So just back and forth, watch when you keep the glass on center. Let that bottom pull away just slightly. So we have got the beginnings of this shape coming around. It looks pretty good. Let's heat it up and flash it one more time. We will get the bottom half a little bit hotter. So we can just pull and swing out just a little bit further. Flash that neck again, keep it nice and warm and now heat the bottom. We heat the part we want to move. We flash the part that we want to keep warm. Heat the bottom again, let's give it about ten more seconds here. Now if you happen to do this and you start swinging and you realize the glass is not moving, come right back to the gloryhole, heat the bottom half again, there will be a few more extra reheats to it and see if it will come back around and move for you.

    We are just nice and gentle, back and forth like a pendulum on a clock, nice and easy. There you can see, we have got a nice tapered shape to that. That's pretty good, let's take this back to the bench. We will give another reheat real quick. We will take it back. Heat the entire body this time. When I take it back to the bench, I am going to use the pad of paper just to cool and straighten the sides a little bit. Then we can start shaping the bottle. Here we go. I am just going to lay the paper across the profile of the piece just to cool it a little bit. See that steam and a little bit of smoke starting to rise off. Now we got the sides set, let's use the paddle Just to plough that bottom around. We are going to start at an angle like a snowplough does. Once we see the glass moving, just roll it across the side. Now we are flat across the bottom. Then we start at an angle so that the glass on towards the center. Then you can rotate around and get that bottom nice and true. One last thing we will do, set the bottom with the jacks. You can use the jacks. You can use the tips or the backside of your tweezers whichever works for you. We want to make that little dimple there. That's where we are going to place the punty, sort of a little bullseye for us. So I am going to hand this off to one of my assistants, I am going to go make a punty, when we come back, we will catch to the bottom, separate the glass from the blowing iron. Then we will finish the piece with the jacks. So now I have got my solid bit, bit iron because I am getting a little bit of glass on the top of this to form my punty. Punty coming from the French or Italian term for bridge, 'Pontel.

    ' It's because the punty is used to transfer the glass away from the blowing iron so we can work on one side then the other. I am just going to very gently skin that glass back across the side of the iron. Cool the sides a little bit. Roll it up a little bit more. What that does is leave a nice, little tip, little dome of hot glass there. That's what I am going to attach to the bottom of the blowing vessel. I will grab my tweezers, get a little water on my hand, place that punty right on the bottom in my dimple that I made. There we go. From off center a little bit, I can push. Bring it back on so that, that punty is rolling right down the middle. Take the tweezers to the neck, raise my hand up and let that water run down my hand into the blades and onto the neck of the glass. Little squeeze there to make it a little more brittle. We will move the iron onto the bench and a tap is all we need to separate the glass from the blowing iron.