The technique for mouth blown glass was perfected prior to the rise of the Roman Empire and grew in popularity while the Roman civilization flourished. The mouth blown, also known as free- blowing, technique has been used to create glass around the world for literally centuries. The process includes blowing of short bursts of air into molten glass which is gathered at one end of a glasscrafter’s tool known as a blowpipe.
Is All Blown Glass Mouth Blown?
No, blown glass can also be made by machine with an air compressor and many companies that produced glassware widely collected today employed this technique, as do contemporary glassmakers handcrafting decorative glass. Some of the most famous glass of this type was produced by renowned glassware artist Dale Chihuly.
Is Blown Glass Ever Molded?
Yes, blown glass can be formed with the aid of a mold. Fostoria is one of the companies known to expertly craft elegant glass in this manner for many years.
Is Mouth Blown Glass a Lost Art?
No, skilled crafters mouth blowing glass, like those working at the Jamestown Glasshouse in Jamestown, Virginia, form objects without the aid of a mold as they’ve done there since the early 1600s when the colony was first settled.
What is a Pontil Mark on Blown Glass?
A pontil mark is the spot on the bottom of a piece of blown glass where the rod used in manufacture was broken off after the piece was completed. Some pieces of blown glass will have a very rough pontil, others will have a rather lumpy pontil that has been partially finished by reheating the glass and smoothing it.
Finely crafted blown glass, like that made by fine art glass and elegant glass manufacturers widely collected today, will have almost always have a polished pontil. This means the pontil has been polished completely smooth leaving a round or oval indention in its place on the bottom of the piece. A polished pontil is a sign meticulous detail in the manufacture of quality blown glass.
Does Blown Glass Ever Contain Ash or Other Types of Debris?
Yes, it can. But high quality collectible blown glass will be free of these types of imperfections.