When coming to a Liquid Arts Session class it helps to gain a little knowledge before you start your class. We will go over everything you need to know, but if you have some free time, getting to know glassblowing a little will help your understanding.
To become an accomplished glassblower in scientific or high-end art requires years of experience and exposure to the many fields of science. It is not unusual for a glassblower to spend 10+ years working in a production studio environment before they may be considered "Master Glassblowers"*
. Many glassblowers
in the United States learn their skills through an informal apprentice-style program specific to the company or school they are associated with.
This basic tutorial is not to make you an accomplished professional glassblower. It is simply designed to give you experience in performing a series of basic glassblowing skills that can be used to make glass apparatuses or glass figurines. Many of the techniques may be applied to art glassblowing or scientific glassblowing. It is assumed that you will be using glass from the borosilicate family (PYREX®, KIMAX® or DURAN®) and the instructions are given are based on this assumption. Directions and information should be considered a foundation on which to develop your skills to whatever level you desire. These lessons are here to help you get started in your glass-blowing adventure.
Burns and cuts (possibly severe enough to result in severe injury or death) are a possibility when working with glass and when glassblowing. If a blower works on a lathe, they will want to make sure they are fully trained and wearing no loose clothing. Use common sense and keep your work area clean and free of trash. When someone working next to you, stay at your glassblowing bench and be aware of all activity in your immediate area. Know the location of exits, fire alarms, telephones, fire extinguishers, safety, and first-aid equipment, and gas shut-off valves. Always wear appropriate protective clothing and/or equipment.
Inspect the entire work area, especially the gas supply system, to confirm safe working conditions. Do not work alone - be sure someone is close by to offer assistance if necessary.
Broken glass and leftover pieces should never be disposed of in the regular trash as this could cause serious injury to the custodial staff, someone picking through your trash, or a waste handler. Most organizations have established policies for dealing with "sharps". Sharps containers or buckets must only be used for disposal of broken glass, glass pipettes, etc. - do not throw "regular" trash into them. If your organization uses disposable cardboard boxes, seal them up tightly with tape and make sure the hazards are made clear with signage such as DANGER BROKEN GLASS. Signs and labels such as the one on the right are available at vendors such as Safety Emporium.
Your glassblowing facility must adhere to all local, state, and federal regulations for personal, property, and environmental protection.
Knowing glass terms is a good thing and you can find the glass terms in our glass terms and techniques page.
|Glassblowing has inherent hazards that can result in burns, cuts, poisoning, injuries or even death. While every effort has been made to convey best safety practices, the materials presented herein can not anticipate every possible risk or hazard associated with a given glassblowing activity. The reader is responsibile for assessing and mitigating any and all such hazards or risks before commencing any activity connected with his or her use of these materials. Neither the author(s) nor Elev8 Presents or Elev8 Premier assumes responsibility or liability for injuries, losses, claims or damages to the reader or other parties that may result from the use or misuse of these materials.