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Three Dimensional Visions | GlassBlowingHouston

Unique Glass Art, Wall Installations, and Lighting

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Three Dimensional Visions | GlassBlowingHouston

Create Glass Art and Experience the Magic

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Three Dimensional Visions | GlassBlowingHouston

The greater Houston area's only open access glassblowing studio.

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It’s Too Hot to Blow in August!  Hot Shop is Closed for Maintenance!  

In-person shopping in our Glass Art Gallery by appointment.

Online shopping is available 24/7.

 Glass Art Gallery & Glassblowing Studio

Open Wednesday-Sunday 

  • Acquire unique glass art, lighting, wall installations, and hand-blown giftware
  • Watch live glassblowing
  • Experience the magic of glass via participation in our glassblowing experiences, classes, and events.
  • See what we can do with a little breath, heat, and fire!

Glass Information

  • History of Glass

    Glassmaking began about 5000 years ago, and glass blowing is much younger, only about 2000. People first created small cast objects of Glass in molds or shaped them with simple tools somewhere before 2000 BC in Mesopotamia.

    Stone Age man used natural glass objects to fashion spear points and sharp cutting tools. The earliest known human-made glass objects were beads. During the late Bronze Age, there was a rapid growth in Glass’s technology, including color usage.

    There is a rich history of Glass as a luxury item, and then glassmaking developed slightly differently in each of the world’s cultures. By the 14th century, the island of Murano was the center for luxury Italian glassmaking due to the abundance of pure quartz pebbles.

    The American Studio Glass Movement began in the 1960s when Harvey Littleton, a teaching ceramicist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, joined forces with the Toledo Museum of Art and held two historic glassblowing workshops. Dominick Labino, a glass research scientist, also helped devise a small, inexpensive furnace to melt and work Glass. After these workshops and learnings, Littleton started a glass program at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Some of the early students of this program (Dale Chihuly, Marvin Lipofsky, and Fritz Dreisbach) became innovative artists. They led Glass into its artistic forms of today in the United States.

  • The Importance of Glass

    We get lots of questions about Glass in the studio, so I thought we would provide some info to help you understand “Why Glass”!

    For us, Glass is a state of mind. It is a state of matter in reality. It gets created when molten material cools so rapidly that there is not enough time for a crystalline structure to form. In solids, atoms are in ordered lattice-like structures. In liquids, atoms and molecules move randomly; they flow. In solid Glass, atoms are held rigidly – and cannot flow; they are not in lattices. Glass is called a rigid liquid.

    When most people think of Glass, they think of it as a manmade object. But glass forms in nature:

    • Volcanoes spew molten rock, which cools rapidly and is called obsidian.
    • Lightning strikes desert or beach sands and forms brittle tubes of melted sand that form fulgurites.
    • Meteors that fly through the atmosphere and impact the earth with intense heat form terrestrial debris, which cools quickly and are called tektites.
    • Silicious skeletons of marine creatures (algae, sea sponges) are shed onto the ocean floor and form natural Glass.

    Glass is all around us. It is involved in every facet of our lives. Think about it. What would our world be without Glass?

    • It helps us control the temperature of our surroundings.
    • It aids our vision.
    • It facilitates communication through fiber optic cables.
    • It is in packaging, tableware.
    • It helps express our identity in the form of art.

    What does Glass not do? Its applications are endless.

  • The Composition of Glass

    Every Glass has its set of chemical and mechanical properties. If you don’t know what those are, you can’t work on a piece without some “experimentation.” One of the most important factors is the COE (coefficient of expansion) of the Glass.

    For glass pieces created under ambient conditions, stained Glass and mosaic Glass, knowing the COE is not essential because the material (the Glass) is not being heated and cooled to different temperatures. For glass forms created using kiln forming or hot glass techniques, the COE is essential. You can sometimes get away with fusing or blowing Glass with a 1 or 2 COE difference, but not always. If it is not compatible, it develops lines of stress along which it can fracture.

    Type of GlassCommon NameCOE
    Effetre (Moretti)lamp working glass104
    Spruce Pine Batch for GlassBlowingBatch96
    Spectrum, Uroborus Glass96
    Bullseye Glass90
    Standard Window Glass“Float Glass”84-87
    Brown Beer Bottles83-90

    The typical COE for most glassblowing studios is 96. The raw material used in the form of cullet, silica sand superheated with other chemicals, or batch. We currently use Spruce Pine Batch as our raw material. Furnace workers are typically called “soft glass” glassblowers.

    The boro glassblowers are known as “hard glass” workers, and their material has a higher resistance to thermal shocking and breaking. They start with glass tubes that are heated and blown in front of a torch.

    Each manufacturing plant producing a similar glass item can have varying COEs. For example, bottles made at one plant might have one COE, but at another plant of the same manufacturer, the COE might be different.

    So, if you want us to combine shards of your Glass with ours, we will try it. There will be a fee for the attempt, regardless of the outcome. We will do our best to be successful, but there are no guarantees. If it is successful and you want us to do custom designs with your shards, we will estimate a price (again, it will be a payment due regardless of the outcome). There are no guarantees when you don’t know the COE.

  • The Coloration of Glass

    In Glass, color is created by metal oxides, just like the formation of gemstones and petrified wood in nature. Color is applied to clear molten Glass when making a piece of blown Glass. Color can be applied using frit (glass shards) that come in a variety of sizes. It also is implemented as an overlay using a piece of bar or rod. There are various other color application options, including the use of cane and murrini that you make in the studio.

    Just like in paint pigments, the combination of two transparent colors may result in an unexpected outcome. The mixture may form a muddy color. To keep this from happening, you can separate the colors with a coat of clear. Light does not penetrate opaque colors an unexpected outcome is less of a problem with them.

    Another attribute is that some colors change color while you work with them. They may strike with heat or reduce under a flame, forming exciting combinations. The last aspect is the color’s ability to change due to a reaction with another color. Sulfur based colors react with copper-based colors forming a third color, which you may or may not like. So this is important to consider when you are selecting the color scheme for your piece.

  • State of Matter of Glass

    Most people think of Glass as a solid. It’s fun to expose people to Glass in its more liquid form. When we work with Glass in the hot shop, it is kinetic, it flows, it expands, it contracts, and it dances with us. Glass is beautiful in its uncolored state, where you can take advantage of its optical qualities, and it is fascinating when it takes on color. Glass is a fantastic play material. You can make it into one form if you don’t like it; you can remelt it and form it into something else.

    Glass is paradoxical. It can last for thousands of years or shatter in an instant.

    Skill builder, gather, glass making reservations

    Glass reflects the personalities of those who work it.

    • Michael’s joy is exploring his love for color and different forms in Glass.
    • Patrick focuses on patterns and the repetition of elements, probably due to his strong musical background.
    • Glass is attractive to me as a scientist because it is process-oriented. Once you become competent at making the primary forms, you can start to recombine them and make Glass follow your lead. I look at boundaries as something to go beyond and try to mimic geological concepts with Glass like a kid with a chemistry set and no instruction manual. I try to use everything, all my background, and knowledge while exploiting all the resources at hand.

    Without Glass, how would we recognize ourselves? Its reflectivity allows us to see ourselves as we genuinely are or maybe who we are not.