It all starts by melting pure silica (sand) with various chemicals added, called batch or cullet (pre-heated). The furnace crucible (pot) is where the batch or cullet is melted into a liquid state (the consistency of honey) and then kept at a constant working temperature.
The first thing a glassmaker must do is take a gather of glass. The gaffer (lead glassmaker) takes a 5-foot pipe and gently dips it in the molten glass while constantly rotating to get an even gather. Then, they shape the gather and add their breath by blowing through the pipe. After this, tools and air shape the glass. Metal oxides (in the form of bar or glass shards) provide color. The glass is kept hot and workable by reheating it in the glory hole. Obtaining the proper shape is very important, and you continue working until the form you want is achieved. Then the glass form is placed in the box (the annealer), and it cools slowly, for a minimum of 14-18 hours.
Glassblowing is all about a liquid that is manipulated by breath, heat, fire, and imagination. You work the glass while it is hot, and as it cools, it starts to reach a solid state. Glass becomes a stable solid form when it anneals (cool) very slowly.
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