Characteristics of Hand-Blown Glass
Glassblowing is an ancient technique that isused to shape heated, molten glass into aesthetic and functional objects suchas vases, bowls, plates, candlesticks, cups and more. Glassblowers use a longblowpipe to shape the glass while it is still extremely hot. Glassblowing is ahighly technical art form that requires specialized training and skill. Learnto recognize hand-blown glass by looking for certain characteristics
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Apontil mark, also called a pontil scar or a punt mark, is left on a piece ofhand-blown glass when the glassblower removes the working rod or “pontil iron”from the glass object. Machine-made glass objects do not have these revealingmarks. You’ll usually find the pontil mark on the bottom of a vase, jar, plateor cup, but the mark may be hidden on other glass objects. Some glassblowingstudios use pontil irons with their own distinctive symbols on the end,allowing them to turn the pontil mark into a sort of logo on each hand-blownpiece. Simon Pearce, for example, marks each piece with a small circle of fourpetal-like forms.
Hand-blownglass does not have the machine-made symmetry and precision of manufactured,machine-produced glass objects. A hand-blown glass piece may have slightimperfections, irregularities, or even a slightly asymmetrical form. If youpurchase a set of plates, glasses or other dishes from a glassblowing studio,expect each piece to look slightly different. These irregularities reveal thata human hand produced the pieces, rather than a machine. Slight irregularitiesof shape give hand-blown glass its distinctive charm, though some glassblowingstudios set aside their most irregular or imperfect pieces for sale at a lowerprice.
Manyhand-blown glass objects contain small air bubbles inside the glass. These airbubbles can get trapped inside of the heated glass during the blowing process,and they remain in the finished piece. Some glassblowing studios promote airbubbles as an aesthetic feature of their pieces. However, machine-producedglass objects can also contain bubbles, so this characteristic is not unique tohand-blown glass.
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