What is the process like?

Glassblowers are also known as gaffers. Gaffers use a recipe that was invented by Ancient Egyptians in order to make the glass. The recipe is comprised of lime, sand, and soda ash. These products are mixed together and heated until they reach a liquid state. Materials needed are a blowpipe, punty, marver, bench, blocks, jacks, paddles, tweezers, paper, and shears. In order to get started, the glassblower first preheats the tip of the blowpipe, then dips the molten glass in the furnace. The blowpipe is twisted around so that the glass gathers on the end. Then, the glass is rolled onto the marver. This causes a cool skin to be formed onto the outside of the molten glass blob. Air is blown into the pipe, forming a bubble. More glass can be put over that bubble to make a  larger piece. After the piece reaches its approximate size, the bottom is finalized. The molten glass then is attached for a punty, where the glassblower shapes it, and moves the hollow piece from the blowpipe to finalize the top.

The glassblowers station is known as the bench, and is where the glassblower sits and keeps his tools. Blocks are tools used in the early steps to shape and cool a piece. Jacks are tweezer-like tools, with two blades, and are used to form shape later in the process. Paddles are used to create flat bottoms, or other flat spots within the piece. The glassblower also uses tweezers to pick out the details or pull on the glass piece. Two types of shears are used, straight or diamond. Straight shears are large scissors, and make linear cuts. Diamond shears have blades shaped like a diamond, and are used to create large pieces of glass.

To make patterns and add color to blown glass, the glassblower rolls the molten glass into powdered color, and in larger pieces of colored glass, or frit. Patterns are made using cane, which are rods are colored glass, and murrine, which are rods cut in cross sections, to reveal patterns. The pieces of color are arranged on a flat surface in a pattern, then applied by rolling the glass over them.