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How to Decorate Handblown Glass

Learn how to decorate handblown glass from glassblower Todd Hansen in this Howcast video.


Hello, my name is Todd Hansen, we're here at the Art of Fire Contemporary Glass Blowing Studio in Laytonsville, Maryland. We are at 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 glass blowing. There are a lot of ways to decorate hand-blown glass. You can start with a solid chunk of color on the inside, you can use small chunks of glass we call frit, you can do trails, you can do optic molds, you can twist those patterns up. There are a lot of ways to do it. Basically, you could go to any studio and talk to any glass blower about how they do it, and you're going to find a different way from each person, So, a lot of it has to do with technique, it has to do with personal preference. What the glass blower likes to do himself, and - or herself - a lot of the basis for decoration is really just personal preference. We've got lots of hand tools, you can pull and maneuver the glass, manipulate it that way. Again, depending on how you want your final piece to be decorated, you can use the frit, you can use the trails. Those are techniques that we call hot-glass decorating. There's also ways to work with glass after it's cooled down, called cold-working. You can grind patterns and polish patterns into the glass. You can also cut a pattern into a piece, reheat it and pick it up. That's a different technique called a graal. Basically, whatever tool you find in the studio, you could probably use it to put a decoration in the glass, and it's really up to you to decide what you want to do and how you're going to decorate it.

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