All About Glass

All About Glass

This is your resource for exploring various topics in glass: delve deeper with this collection of articles, multimedia, and virtual books all about glass. Content is frequently added to the area, so check back for new items. If you have a topic you'd like to see covered, send us your suggestion. If you have a specific question, Ask a Glass Question at our Rakow Research Library.

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Pâte de Verre
Video

This is another casting technique that—like glassblowing—only works with glass. Whereas glassblowing was invented about 50 BC, pâte de verre is a process invented in France in the 19th century. It allows subtle gradations of color, possible with no other glassworking process.

Flameworked Vessels
Video

Beginning in the 1800s, glassworkers used flameworking to make vessels considerably larger than previously possible. Bigger and more sophisticated torches allowed the increase in scale, while retaining the flameworker's ability to create minute details.

Cracking Off
Video

As if glassblowing wasn't fast enough—it takes under three minutes to make a Roman bottle—cracking-off made the process even faster. This technique was well known by AD 20 or so, and cut the manufacturing time of simple tumblers in half.

Making Iridized Glass
Video

Learn about ancient iridized glass and a method for creating iridized glass surfaces. This video was featured in the exhibit Reflecting Antiquity  at The Corning Museum of Glass, February 15 through May 27, 2008. Note: the method portrayed uses stannous chloride fumes, which can be highly toxic. Do

Cane Making
Video

While glass canes can be used alone, for example as stirring rods, usually they are incorporated in vessels or sculpture. An infinite variety of decoration is possible. Here we see two examples that are intended to be viewed from the side.

Building a Goblet on a Blowpipe
Video

Here is virtuoso Venetian-style glassblowing "without a net." One mistake and all is lost! Where "making a goblet from parts" allows mistakes to be isolated and destroyed, this process moves relentlessly forward, allowing no retakes.

Fusing and Slumping
Video

Popular among glass artists today, as it was in the golden age of Greece and the Roman Empire, this technique softens and shapes glass in a kiln. Various preparatory steps are shown in the making of a contemporary sculpture.

Learn About Glass Enameling
Video

It could have been so simple... but it wasn't! Until recent times (about 1800), permanent enamels had to be fired on glass vessels by an amazingly laborious process, shown here. Today, the process really is as easy as it looks.

Solder vs. Glass Rod
Video

See what really sets glass apart from metal and then begin to understand why humans have invented such odd ways of shaping it while hot: core-forming, fusing, slumping, and—oddest of all—glassblowing.

Glass Blowing
Video

Discover the history and process of glass blowing with experts at the Corning Museum of Glass.

Medieval Goblet
Video

Arguably the most beautiful medieval glass vessel to survive, this goblet is also original. It is probably the invention of one glassblower who took the secret of its manufacture to his grave. See this extraordinarily elegant process, not rediscovered until the 20th century.

Liquid Fusion: Glass Design Workshop at Boisbuchet, 2006
Video

Liquid Fusion: Glass Design Workshop is an annual workshop CMoG conducts with the Vitra Museum at Domain de Boisbuchet, in Lessac, France. Film by Deidi von Schaewen, editing by Giona Messina.

Core Forming
Video

This was the common method of making small glass vessels from around 1500 BC until the discovery of glassblowing. Dung, clay, and glass came together in a seemingly odd process that was indispensable for more than a millennium and a half.

Tom Patti- Voices of Contemporary Glass
Video

Tom Patti explains his unique approach to working with glass. Voices of Contemporary Glass: The Heineman Collection at The Corning Museum of Glass, May 16, 2009 through January 2, 2011.

GlassLab at Design Miami 2007
Video

A Collaboration of The Corning Museum of Glass + Vitra Design Museum. GlassLab brings the ancient processes and skills of glassmaking together with creative and innovative minds in the design world. Contemporary designers, working with Corning Museum of Glass glassmakers in a unique mobile hot

Flameworked Sculpture
Video

Artists have proven that glass as a medium for sculpture is virtually without limits. Among hot-working processes, flameworking allows the greatest detail and the smallest scale. Surprisingly though, it can also be used to create sculpture large enough to fill rooms.

Paperweights
Video

Encasing glass decorations and small-scale sculpture within a mass of molten colorless glass to make paperweights began in the 1840s. It continues to be practiced by a limited number of specialized glass artists.

Air Twist Stem
Video

A technique unique to glass, air twist requires very high quality material for success. When sparkling lead crystal became common in 18th-century England, the air twist technique spread rapidly.

Mold Blowing
Video

By about AD 20, Roman workers had discovered that a bubble of molten glass could be lowered into a mold and then further inflated to fill the mold. In this way, the full-size vessel, complete with elaborate decoration, was made almost instantly.

Gold Glass
Video

Learn about Gold Glass from Ancient Rome, and also, how to make gold glass today. This video was featured in the exhibit Reflecting Antiquity  at The Corning Museum of Glass, February 15- May 27, 2008.

Annealing and Tension in Glass
Video

Hot-working processes used to form a glass object—glassblowing for example—must be followed by a very gradual cooling period called annealing. See what happens when an object is not properly annealed and learn why it breaks.

Murrine Making
Video

Alternately using different colored glasses, plunged into different shaped dip molds, to build up a variety of layers, a stout cane is drawn. When the cane is cut, the pattern is revealed at the cross-section.

Wendell Castle: GlassLab at the Vitra Design Museum, June 17, 2010
Video

Designer Wendell Castle prototypes a design for martini glasses and pitcher set on GlassLab at the Vitra Design Museum during Art Basel 2010.

(No sound) Medieval Glass: Making a kuttrolf
Video

This video shows the technique of making a kuttrolf, an object in the exhibition Medieval Glass for Popes, Princes, and Peasants, on view at The Corning Museum of Glass from May 15, 2010, to January 2, 2011.

Paul Cocksedge: 2011 GlassLab at the Vitra Design Museum
Video

GlassLab is a program from The Corning Museum of Glass that introduces designers to glass as a means to immediately prototype designs in front of a live audience. During Art Basel in June, 2011, GlassLab presented at the Vitra Design Museum. Designer Paul Cocksedge designed an interactive glass

(No sound) Medieval Glass: Making a medieval goblet
Video

This video shows the technique of making a medieval goblet, an object in the exhibition Medieval Glass for Popes, Princes, and Peasants, on view at The Corning Museum of Glass May 15, 2010, to January 2, 2011.

Cameo Glass Blank
Video

Some of the first glassblowers working in Italy—perhaps as early as 30 BC—made blanks for craftspeople accustomed to decorating hardstone objects. The glassblowing process required two contrasting glasses, usually blue and white.

Michal Fronek: GlassLab at the Vitra Design Museum, June 2010
Video

Michal Fronek from Olgoj Chorchoj glass studio in the Czech Republic works at GlassLab at the Vitra Design Museum in June 2010 during Art Basel.

Engraving Lathe
Video

Essentially the same as lathe cutting, the engraving lathe is generally used for small-scale projects often involving the creation of extremely fine details, such as the eyelashes on a portrait.

Glass Harmonica (Family App)
Video

Benjamin Franklin invented this strange musical instrument. It was popular in the late 18th century. Sounds were made by running moistened fingers along the rims of the glasses. Some people were afraid that this strange music would drive them crazy.

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