By Heather Harper I Borderline Press I April 4, 2016
Glass-blowing is one of the lesser-known crafts of the twenty-first century, except perhaps in Pacific Northwest, where it still continues to thrive. Though modern technology has helped update this genre of #art, its roots are bound in history. According to some historians, the origins of glass reach as far back as 1500 BC; the Egyptians used it to glaze tiles. This is contradictory to one philosopher, Pliny, who postulated that the Phoenicians were the first to discover glass around the first century AD.
This intricate art uses torches, furnaces, and glass rods to form functional and beautiful creations. Notably, glass-blowers do actually blow air into their work. They shape molten glass with a hollow, metal pipe, fittingly called a blowpipe, which was invented by the Syrians around 300 BC. It was this tool which would help turn glass-blowing into a common practice during the reign of the Holy Roman Empire.
Over the centuries, new and improved tools and techniques increased production and form. The Enlightenment period saw a large influx of artisans, likely because the progression of thought and change helped to stimulate its growth. In fact, the first textbook to be produced on the subject was published in the 17th century, titled Arte Vertraria, or “The Art of Glass”.
Glass is literally, and figuratively, one of the most malleable mediums available today. It can be used for practical purposes like windows and pint mugs, but it also offers beautiful art like stained-glass, hand-blown beads, and vases. This is one form of art (and science) which has truly stood the test of time.