the artist and her craft

The thoughts of a glassblower

 
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I wear many hats, but glassblower has been a long running favourite.

I wear many hats, but glassblower has been a long running favourite. My love for glassblowing continues to grow every day. I love the excitement of seeing an object take shape, the intensity of the fire, the rich history of the craft and the beauty found within its raw materials. It's a medium I am truly passionate about and I'm so proud to share it with others.

Before going solo, I had worked in a few glassblowing studios—a gamut of experience that allowed me to hone my craft. With over ten years of experience, I now operate my own small business, Tara Blown Glass. I offer a selection of home decor, cremation memorial keepsake and when time and creativity permits – monster sculptures!

my favourite things

  • My family—a supportive partner, two incredible boys and a loving dog

  • Good food that tastes great and nourishes the body

  • A lighthearted attitude, a positive outlook and a sense of humour

  • Colour! The whole rainbow–all the time!


Tools of the trade

Left pretty much unchanged since first century, glassblowing tools are simple and few. These include a blowpipe, punty, bench, marver, blocks, jacks, paddles, tweezers and a variety of shears. However, there are a few intangible and essential pieces – gravity, centrifugal force, and well-developed lung-power!

 Tara using jacks to shape the glass while blowing into the pipe. Photo credit: Terminal City Glass Co-op

Tara using jacks to shape the glass while blowing into the pipe. Photo credit: Terminal City Glass Co-op


Understanding glassblowing

Tara begins each piece by inserting a preheated blowpipe into the furnace to gather clear molten glass. The glass is rolled on a steel table called a marver to form a cylindrical shape. Colored glass powders or pieces are picked up and combined in a similar manner. 

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Keeping the glass in constant motion, one hand turns the pipe while the other shapes it using a wooden block, newspaper or tweezers. The glass cools throughout the process becoming unworkable and is reheated using a blow torch or more commonly in large furnace, called the glory hole, to keep it above 1000 degrees Fahrenheit.

 Tara using a hand torch to selectively heat a piece. Photo credit: Terminal City Glass Co-op

Tara using a hand torch to selectively heat a piece. Photo credit: Terminal City Glass Co-op

After the final shape is formed, the piece is placed in a temperature-controlled kiln to slowly cool revealing it's final colour.

 The punty transfer is a pivotal and stressful moment during the glassblowing process. Photo credit: Terminal City Glass Co-op

The punty transfer is a pivotal and stressful moment during the glassblowing process. Photo credit: Terminal City Glass Co-op