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A short explanation of Glass-working:
The Glass Encyclopedia
There are many forms of working with glass, some requiring large expensive furnaces and cooling ovens (for glass blowing)whilst others need only a blow torch (for lampworking) or a small kiln (for slumped glass).
The Phoenicians are traditionally credited with discovering how to make glass,
but it is an unlikely story. According to Pliny the Elder, some Phoenician merchants were on a beach and built a fire. They used blocks
of natron from their cargo, and the heat of the fire fused the sand, natron and
burning wood to produce glass. It isn't a very plausible story because a beach fire
probably wouldn't be hot enough to produce glass.
It was the Romans who discovered that the fluid property of glass as it cools makes it possible to blow a bubble into the glass and create a vessel. And so glass blowing began.
Atoms and molecules move around freely in liquid molten glass.
When it cools the atoms do not form a crystalline structure, as they do in most other materials. Glass stays flexible as it cools and can be manipulated by blowing a bubble into it, or pulling it around
to make various shapes before it cools and becomes a "super cooled liquid". This is one of the most wonderful features of glass, that make it such a delight for the creative glass artist.
References and Sources:
We have selected some new or recent books as well as some favourite classic books on working with Glass. Click on the book cover or title to see more information.
- Sand Cast And Kiln Glass: A Chinese Context (Oct 2014) by Guan Donghai.
- Kiln-Formed Glass: Beyond the Basics (July 2014) by Brenda Griffith. Advanced practices, techniques and projects.
- Kiln Cast Glass (July 2013) by keith cerone.
- Warm Glass : A Complete Guide to Kiln-Forming Techniques: Fusing, Slumping, Casting Philippa Beveridge, Ignasi Domenech & Eva Pacual, March 2005.
- Introduction to Glass Science and Technology by J E Shelby, March 2005.
- Contemporary Glass Enameling: Fusing with Powders, Paints, and Frit by Kay Bain Weiner, March 2005.
- Contemporary Lampworking: A Practical Guide to Shaping Glass in the Flame (2 Vol. Set) by Bandhu Scott Dunham, May 2002.
- Dictionary of Glass: Materials and Techniques by Charles Bray. Definitions and explanations of glass-making technical terms, materials, equipment, etc.
- Dictionary of Glass-Making : In English, French and German by the International Commission on Glass. A technical dictionary of glass-making terms translated into three languages. Essential for Europeans working in the glass field.
Kiln Firing Glass: Glass Fusing Book One (2nd Edition) by Boyce Lundstrom et.al. A very popular classic text on kiln firing.
- Contemporary Kiln-formed Glass (2009) by Keith Cummings.
Advanced Fusing Techniques (Glass Fusing, Book 2) by Boyce Lundstrom. An excellent follow-up, with detailed information for successful advanced work.
Glass Casting and Moldmaking (Glass Fusing, Book 3) by Boyce Lundstrom. The third in this series of widely used textbooks.
Glass Science (Mar 94) by Robert H. Doremus. A classic reference text on glass.
Glass Notes: A Reference for the Glass Artist (3rd Edition) by Henry Halem. Highly recommended guide to building and operating a glass studio.
A Glassblower's Companion: A Compilation of Studio Equipment Designs, Essays, & Glassblowing Ideas by Dudley F. Giberson. A "must" for anyone setting up their own studio.
Flameworking: Creating Glass Beads, Sculptures & Functional Objects by Elizabeth Mears (April 2003). Well illustrated instructions from a top teacher.
The Art & Soul of Glass Beads: 14 Bead Artists Share Their Inspiration & Methods by Susan Ray.
Advanced Glassworking Techniques by Edward T. Schmid.
- Glass-makers: Pilkington, The Rise of an International Company, 1826-1976 (Nov 1977) by T. C. Barker.
Pilchuck: A Glass School (Nov 96) by Tina Oldknow. The story of contemporary glass making in the USA, based on interviews with over 150 glass artistst who have attended this famous glass venue.
The Glass Makers (Colonial Craftsmen) (Sept 97) by Leonard Everett Fisher. Covers the history, material and techniques of glassmaking in the American Colonies.
- The Glassmakers, Revisited: A History of Owens-Illinois, Inc. (May 2010) by Jack K Paquette, vice president and assistant to the chairman of Owens-Illlinois who worked for the company for 33 years. The book describes the people and the inventions that changed glassmaking and changed the industry.
- Edward Drummond Libbey, American Glassmaker (2011) by Quentin R. Skrabec. The story of Libbey's long career, his innovation of American flint cut glass, his affordable glassware and how he changed the glass industry with the automatic bottle-making machine and automatic sheet glass machine.
- History of Glassmaking in London (2013) by David C. Watt. A fascinating book about the development of the glass industry on the banks of the Thames in London from Medieval times to the early 20th century. Carefully researched and full of details it describes the glassworks and output of Sir Robert Mansell, Ravenscroft, Apsley Pellatt, Powell and many others.
- Decorative Glasswork (New Craft Series) (1997) by Michael Ball. Covers all kinds of decorating applied on glass.
The Complete Book of Glass Beadmaking (Sept 2010) by Kimberley Adams. A popular book which has been described by a reviewer as "the complete book for a beginner".
Glass Bead Workshop: Building Skills, Exploring Techniques, Finding Inspiration (May 2008) by Jeri L. Warhaftig. 144 full colour pages showing advanced techniques using step-by-step photos, thorough explanation, and very creative projects.
The Book of Beads: A practical and inspirational guide to Beads and Jewelry Making (Aug 90) by Janet Coles and Robert Budwig. A very popular guide covering an extensive range of information.
Exotic Beads: 45 distinctive Beaded Jewelry Designs (Mar 96) by Sara Withers. 128 pages of beautiful project ideas.
Creative Bead Jewelry: Weaving Looming, Stringing, Wiring and Making Beads (Oct 95) by Carol Taylor. 144 pages written in a highly entertaining style, giving comprehensive advice for novices to experts on these techniques of bead-working.
The Irresistible Bead: Designing and Creating Exquisite Beadwork Jewelry (Nov 96) by Linda Fry Kenzle. Another very popular book on beadworking.
The New Beadwork (Oct 92) by Kathlyn Moss. A hardcover book with 112 pages of advice on beadwork and design.
Stained Glass (July 94) by Kay Bain Weiner. A guide to Tiffany copper foil techniques.
More books on stained glass
Pate de Verre and Kiln Casting of Glass (Apr 97) Daniel M. Fenton and James E. Kervin. 198 pages of information on these techniques..
Making Glass Beads (Oct 97) by Cindy Jenkins. 112 pages of advice on making a wide range of bead designs.
Fused Glass Handbook (Aug 87) by Gill Reynolds. A popular handbook.
Kiln Firing Glass: Glass Fusing Book One (revised edition) (Jun 94) by Boyce Lundstrom and Danile Schwoerer. The first of a series covering the various techniques of glass fusing.
Advanced Fusing Techniques (Glass Fusing Book 2) (Jun 89) by Boyce Lundstrom.
Glass Casting and Mold Making (Glass Fusing Book 3) (Jun 89) by Boyce Lundstrom.
The History of Beads: from 30,000 BC to the present (Sept 95) by Lois Sherr Dubin. Great pictures; great information; a very handsome book, originally a very expensive hardback now in paperback at a very reasonable price.
Alchemy in Light: Making Art Glass (Jan 98) by Tapeworm Video. This is a video currently available in USA/Canada format only (you can usually get US videos converted).
English-Spanish-Portuguese Dictionary of Glassmaking (Sept 92) a dictionary of technical terms used in glassmaking translating between three languages.
Prism and Lens Making (Feb 88) by F. Twyman.
Contemporary Lampworking: A practical guide to Shaping Glass in the Flame (Sept 95) by Bandhu Scott Dunham. Technical information on glass shaping including detailed advice on glass compatibility; studio set-up; safety, plus a gallery of contemporary glasswork.
Glassblowing: An introduction to Artistic and Scientific Flameworking 2nd Edition (revised) (Nov 93) by Edward Carberry.
Glassblowing: An introduction to solid and blown sculpturing (Nov 89) by Homer L. Hoyt.
Studio Craft as Career: A Guide to Achieving Excellence in Art (Dec 2016) by Paul J. Stankard. Career advice from a great glass artist.
Spark the Creative Flame: Making the Journey from Craft to Art (Dec 2013) by Paul J. Stankard, one of glassmakings truly great artists.
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