Glass-blowing I: forming the body
Since 1979 the LWL- Industrial Museum Glashütte Gernheim has provided insight into traditional glass-manufacturing through presentations. The recording one can hear two glass-blowers at work in the production of simple drinking glasses.
The about 1200 C° hot oven melts a mixture of raw materials like sand, limestone and natron into glass-material. The molten glass-material has a similar consistency to honey and so it is easily shapeable. The ventilation of the oven is in permanent operation and one can hear its humming throughout the whole production of the glass.
The glass-blower dips the front part of the blowpipe in the hot and semi fluid glass and collects a glob of glass in a constant turning movement (like a spoon of honey).
After that he continuously cools the heated blowpipe in the water of the trough so that the remaining heat doesn't deform the Glass. An Iron plate, moist wooden shaping tools, a pair of scissors and wet newspaper are additional tools which the glass blower uses and keeps by the trough. He uses the iron plate for rolling the blazing glass into a round shape. In between he blows air into the glass with the blowpipe in order to create a hollow. Doing this he has to keep heating the glass in the furnace so it doesn't lose the consistency required to work the material. By blowing more the hollow space grows larger. By use of the wooden shapers the glass receives a rounder. The water cools off the outer skin and provides certain firmness. Then the glass-blower uses a different moist, wooden forming tool to form the glass bottom. The moist newspaper is used for punctual cooling of the glass. The cooling of the blowpipe and the vaporization of the water on the wet forming tools and the moist newspaper generate the typical hissing sound.
Sound recordist: Konrad Gutkowski / Jonathan Nicolai
Video recordist: Konrad Gutkowski / Jonathan Nicolai
Photo: Konrad Gutkowski / Jonathan Nicolai