History of Handblown Glass

Learn the history of handblown glass from glassblower Todd Hansen in this Howcast video.


Hello, my name’s Todd Hansen. We’re here at the Art of Fire Contemporary Glassblowing Studio in Laytonsville, Maryland. We're at www.artoffire.com. I’ve been a glass blower for about twelve years now, I’ve got several different lines of glasswork that I work on, and I’ll be talking to you about glassblowing. Hand blown glass has been around for, at least, 2000 years uh when the Romans started really industrializing and modernizing tools. Um re-differentiate between the glass blown and hand blown uh versus machine blown or mold blown, and it’s a big difference. Uh, if you look at the bottom of a sticker of a piece, and it says hand blown, then it should be hand formed as well. If you see something that says mouth blown, your piece is probably blown into a mold um, technically that’s correct but as far as being handmade or not is uh, that’s probably debatable. But before the advent of molds and machinery and equipment that can grind and polish uh a uh work off uh hand blown, hand formed glass was how it’s been done for thousands and thousands of years. And that’s the style of glasswork that we practice here um. We do things from start to finish by hand using heat, gravity, centrifugal force and hand tools that have been uh created and used by glassblowers for generations. And it’s just a satisfying feeling to make something truly by hand that’s actually a piece of your work, um you know if you look at something that’s got the spun marks on it or something that looks like it came from a mold if it’s uh you know the dozen’s or so behind it then it probably was. If you find something that’s got a little bit more unique quality to it, that’s probably a hand-made piece and that’s got a little more character to it. That’s the kind of glass we like, that’s the kind of glass we make.

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