Glass Vases

Breathing Life into Glass Vases: The Roll-Up Technique

“It does not matter what material we use. We need the technique, and we need the idea. And then we need the poetry, the love that transforms the material into a piece of art.” – Lino Tagliapietra

Glass has been an esteemed material for centuries, lauded for its versatility and exquisite beauty. It has been used by skilled artisans to create both functional and decorative objects such as vessels, sculptures, and jewelry. In its molten state, glass has the ability to capture light, color, and shape in a way that few other materials can replicate. One such artist who understands the magic of glass is Mr. Ryan Staub from Seattle, who has partnered with me to bring the Vase series to life. We utilized the Roll-Up technique to create these stunning pieces of art, working at the Pacific Art Glass studio facilities in Gardena, CA.

If you’ve ever marveled at the intricate designs and patterns found on glass objects, then you have likely wondered how they were created. Roll-up is a glassblowing technique that combines two methods: fused glass and glassblowing. Fused glass is where pieces of glass are cut and shaped, then heated in a kiln until they fuse together, resulting in a solid piece with a smooth, uniform surface. In contrast, glassblowing involves gathering molten glass on the end of a blowpipe, shaping it with various tools and techniques, and creating a hollow, blown glass object with a more organic, uneven surface.

In the roll-up technique, a sheet of fused glass is heated until it becomes pliable, then placed on top of a gathering of molten glass on a blowpipe. The glassblower then uses tools and techniques to roll the fused glass into the gather, incorporating it into the blown glass object. This can create intricate patterns and designs on the surface of the glass object as the fused glass is rolled and manipulated.

Roll-up is a challenging technique that requires a high degree of skill and experience in both fused glass and glassblowing. This method is often used to create both functional and decorative objects, such as bowls, vases, drinking glasses, and stemware.

Working with glass is an enchanting experience that is hard to describe. Glass is solid, liquid, and transparent all at once, which adds to its allure. Despite its delicacy, there is a certain mystery surrounding it, and it feels as though something else is at play when working with it in the kiln or glory hole. Every time the oven is opened, the outcome has a mysterious aura to it – as if a secret hand has touched the glass, resulting in a thrilling surprise.

The History of Glassblowing: From Ancient Origins to Modern Artistry

The origins of glassblowing are somewhat unclear, but it is believed to have emerged in the Near East around the first century BCE. The earliest glassblowing vessels were made using core-forming, which involved winding molten glass around a clay core, then removing the core once the glass had cooled.

During the Roman Empire, glassblowing flourished and became a widespread practice. Roman glassblowers developed new techniques, including mold-blowing, which involved blowing molten glass into a mold to create a specific shape. They also introduced the use of metal tools, which allowed for greater precision and detail in glassblowing.

In the Middle Ages, glassblowing continued to be an important trade, with glassmakers producing windows, mirrors, and drinking vessels. The technique spread throughout Europe, and by the 14th century, glassblowing had become a respected craft in Italy and other parts of the continent.

In the 19th century, glassblowing underwent a significant transformation with the development of mechanized glassmaking techniques. Glass could now be produced on a larger scale and more quickly, leading to a greater demand for glass products.

Today, glassblowing remains a popular and respected art form. Skilled artisans like Dale Chihuly use a combination of traditional and modern techniques to create beautiful and intricate glass pieces, including blown glass sculptures, vases, and jewelry. Glassblowing is also used in industry to produce scientific equipment, lighting fixtures, and other products.

The Legacy of Murano: The Enduring Art of Venetian Glassblowing

“I do not invent anything new; I personalize something… And that makes it something that nobody has done before.” – Lino Tagliapietra

Venice has a long and rich history of glass art, dating back to the 13th century. At that time, glass production was considered a dangerous industry due to the risk of fire, so the Venetian government moved all glassmakers to the island of Murano, located just off the coast of Venice. This was done to protect the city’s buildings from the risk of fires caused by glass furnaces and to keep the glassmaking techniques and secrets within the city limits.

On Murano, glassmakers developed innovative techniques for creating glassware, including the famous “Millefiori” technique, which involves layering and melting together small pieces of multicolored glass to create intricate patterns. Murano glass quickly became famous throughout Europe, and the glassmakers of Murano enjoyed a privileged position in society, with many of them becoming wealthy and powerful.

Today, Murano glass is still considered some of the finest glass art in the world, and the island remains a center for glassmaking. The traditional techniques used by Venetian glassmakers have been passed down through generations, and many modern glass artists continue to work with the same methods and tools used by their ancestors. Venetian glass art is celebrated for its beauty, creativity, and technical skill, making it a popular destination for glass art enthusiasts from around the world.