Melting sand to create glass has been practiced for centuries. It has roots all the way back to the early BC era and most likely, even before then. The tools and techniques have changed dramatically since time has been moving on, but the main core of the art form has remained intact.
The intricate artworks that are blown these days are enough to blow your mind. The level of detail and time it takes to make them a reality can be staggering to think about. The process can be handled by a single person, but the techniques are very difficult and exact, which makes it a group effort typically. Not to mention the danger of working with temperatures in excess of 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit.
That is the temperature that lava is able to melt stone.
Since the sand being used is nothing more than broken down stones, the heat is necessary in order to manipulate the magma-like melted sand. This insane temperature is what obviously the most dangerous aspect of the process and is why it’s typically a group mechanic. When this process is underway the lead glassblower or (Gaffer) will start out by dipping his or her 4 foot blowpipe into the molten glass. This makes a goo-ball of molten glass on the end of the blowpipe. When the glass is secure and safe to handle, the other end of the blowpipe is cooled for ease of use.
Once the process of blowing through the pipe to expand the glass begins, the art form itself starts to play out. The dance of flames, iron, steel and breath begins to make a brilliant form out of the once shapeless mass of molten goo. Hours, sometimes even days later, the creation is completed and ready to be put on display. These are the pieces that we marvel at when we visit tobacco shops to find the latest star of the glassblowing world. Many folks collect them just for the art of the individual glassblower exclusively.
They will pay top dollar for a properly blown piece of masterwork. Some of the more difficult pieces are the smaller more intricate designs. You know, the ones that you look at in disbelief as if to say, ‘how in the heck did they make this?’ Those small but intricate designs are reserved for the most experienced glassblowers. On the flip-side, the very large pipes and bongs on display can be extremely difficult to pull off for a lesser experienced blower. If you’re interested, you should explore the ultimate glass water bong collection online. These massive masterworks usually are littered with small flourishes and details you may not even notice at first glance.