Sunday, December 20, 2009

How it was made...Glass Holiday Paperweight

I'm in New Jersey visiting family, and helping to clear out the coffers! We're in the basement today photographing items for my mother-in-law so she can sell them. But, while I was taking pictures, she found this great holiday themed paperweight and I had to share it!

When looking at a paperweight to see how it's made, the first thing you look at is the underside of the paperweight. This allows you to see the layers of the paperweight and how it "grew", kind of like looking at the rings of a tree:

The underside of this paperweight shows us a first gather (The first bit of glass that was collected on the pipe as it was dipped into molten glass.) that was coated in white powder. A second gather (The glass on the pipe was again dipped into molten glass to encase the first bit of glass.) of glass was collected over the white ball, and then then piece was marvered (rolled and shaped) onto a pin frog (or the equivalent) to give it a bunch of pock marks where air could collect to form the many tiny bubbles upon the next gather of glass. At this point, the paperweight would look like a small, white, bubbly paperweight. But, this was just the background for the scene that was picked up (The holly leaf and berries were laid in powder on a steel plate "marver.") next.
After the powdered design was melted into the paperweight, it had to be shaped and another gather encased the design. Finally, a green wrap was created on a separate pipe and swirled onto the paperweight. But, that was only the last HOT step!
See all the facets? First, a nice polished flat bottom. Then, a nice bevel that allows the paperweight to sit with it's holly design pointed at you. BUT, you can't see the holly without a window carved in, as well! That's at least three (and more likely, four) different polishing pads for each flat surface!
To finish it off, an etched artist's signature...and Voila!
It's just that easy ;)

1 comment:

Tabula Rasa,,, said...

That's really fascinating! Glass blowing always seemed so "simple" but dangerous with the fire and heat, but I can see that there are a lot more steps. thanks for the breakdown for this beautiful piece.

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