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Glassblowing Terminology

The art of glassblowing requires numerous tools and techniques — and with that comes a language all it's own!

If you've watched Blown Away, you're probably familiar with some of the terms of the trade, and if you stop by our gallery you may hear certain glassblowing-specific phrases floating about the studio while our glassblowers are at work.

Keep reading to test your glassblowing vocabulary.

Annealer and Annealing
The last oven required for glassblowing. It allows a finished glass piece to keep a similar temperature from the interior core to the surface while it cools, releasing strain caused in the formation process to prevent cracking and breaking. The process of cooling off in the annealer is called "annealing."

Blow Hose
A neoprene tube attached to a swivel at one end and a mouthpiece at the other. It allows the flameworker to blow into the glass bubble while working it in the flame.

Blow Pipe
A hollow steel rod with a mouth piece on one end that allows that glassblower to blow into an expanded bubble of hot glass.

Casing
The application of one layer of glass over another, often to achieve a layered effect for cameo or graal glass.

Cold Working
The act of changing the shape or surface texture of a glass piece once it has fully cooled down. It includes things like grinding, sandblasting, carving, and polishing.

"Cracking off"
The technique of breaking a glass piece off the punti or rod that was used as a handle while the glassblower was forming the piece.

Dichroic
Glass that has been coated with a thin layer of metallic oxide, creating a look of iridescence once the piece is finished.

Flame-annealing
A flameworking technique in which the completed piece is reheated in a bushy, fairly cool flame so as to release the stresses built up during the construction process. This is usually only done to small pieces that will later be placed in an annealer.

Flame-cutting
A technique in which a flame is used to cut apart a glass piece.

Flameworking
Also called "lampworking" or "lamp-blowing," this technique uses the flame of a burner or torch to heat, melt, and form a glass piece.

Flaring
The technique of opening up the end of a bubble or tube to create a hole.

Frit
Ground up pieces of coloured glass varying in consistency from sand-like particles to course chunks. It's often applied to a blob of molten glass as a decoration.

Furnace
The first furnace required for glassblowing. It contains a crucible of molten glass which the glassblower will gather from to start their piece.

Gather
The act of collecting molten glass on the end of a punti or rod.

Glory Hole
The second furnace required in glassblowing. It is used to reheat a piece while it is still being formed.

Mold
A form made of clay, metal, or wood, that is used to shape hot glass.

Paddle
A tool usually made of graphite that is used to form hot glass.

Punti
A metal rod that glassblowers use to make small gathers of glass or to provide a handle for an object while it's being made.

Rod or Cane
A length of solid glass of consistent diameter throughout.

Strike
Glass that changes colour while being re-heated is said to "strike." For example, colours in the ruby family may "strike" from clear to a deep red once they are reheated.

Swivel
A small metal attachment for a blow hose. This piece allows a flameworker to attach the blow hose to the end of a tube so they can blow into the tube while rotating it in the flame.

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Looking for a beautiful piece of blown glass for your own collection? We may have just the thing, or we might be able to make it for you! Explore our online shop or email us at gallery@grayartglass.com.