We received your hand blown glass swan vases on
Friday, they are beautifull. Thank you for everything.
The glass swan vases look beautiful. What
an amazing skill and craftmanship!!!
The 26 Glass Swan Vases arrived today in good
shape. Not one was broken, and they are just what
we were looking for.
Thanks you so very much.
Hi Anna, I recieved my glass swan vases today
and they are lovely! They are going to be perfect
for the wedding! Thanks again!
I was very surprised to have received the
glass swan vases today since I was not expecting
them until December. I think that they are absolutely
beautiful. Every swan vase was packed perfectly
and none were broken. I do believe that they will
make a beautiful swan centerpiece for my daughter's
wedding. Once again, thank you
I need to tell you everyone love the glass
swan vases! I'll send you pictures when I get
The glass swan vases came already and they are
Thank you for your help and I hope I can send
more business your way!
Thanks for checking in with me. Yes, I received
the glass swan vases and they look beautiful!
They should work our perfectly as my wedding centerpieces.
Two of the swans were broken when I received them
(which is why I ordered extra!) and I was going
to contact you to see what to do in this case.
Do I need to return the broken pieces to receive
a refund? Otherwise how do you know that they're
broken? Just let me know what to do from here.
But I do love the swans! Thank you Anna.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF LAMPWORKING
by Robert A. Mickelsen
Although there is no real way to accurately determine
the age of lampworking because many of the techniques
associated with working glass at a flame were
established long before the first lamp, or burner,
was developed; lampworking as we know it today
was born with the Italian Renaissance. Angelo
Barovier, working on Murano, created, "cristallo"
-- a clear soda glass -- in 1450. As chemical
science developed through the inquiries of alchemists,
there arose a concurrent need for clear, durable
vessels to contain, mix, and measure components.
No material was better suited for the task than
this new clear glass. The first apparati were
primitive and not really precise. Off-hand, pipe,
glass blowing was poorly suited for making the
necessary objects: Off-hand techniques simply
could not provide the precision demanded and the
energy demands for full scale furnace work seemed
wasteful of a tremendous amount of energy and
natural resources (glass furnaces were fueled
by cutting down the forests of Europe) to produce
such small things.
The search for precision led (al)chemists to
technical advancements: by forcing a narrow stream
of air into the flame of an oil lamp, sufficient
heat could be generated to soften and work small
pieces of glass. However, this stream of air had
to be continuous to yield the desired results.
At first the fledgling lampworkers actually blew
through a tube directed at the flame, but dizziness
brought on by hyperventilation made this solution
good only for very short periods. The next step
was a hand bellows, but this did not produce a
constant stream of air as the bellows had to be
released in order to refill with air for the next
pump, and it made modeling difficult as the craftsman
had to hold it in one of his hands. These drawbacks
were overcome by adding an expandable bladder
to the bellows and developing a foot bellows which
allowed the worker to use both hands at all times.
The versatility of this new technology was quickly
apparent and gave the lampworker several important
advantages over the glassblower. Because the lampworker
was able to selectively heat the object by directing
the flame at a specific area, he could realize
exacting procedures which were extremely difficult
for the off-hand glassblower, who could only reheat
the entire piece all at once. Additionally, as
the energy demands of lampworking were just a
tiny fraction of those of glassblowing, it was
much more economical and lampworked creations
could be afforded by common people.
By the beginning of the 18th century localized
industries devoted to making small items for public
consumption had sprung up all over Europe. The
town of Nevers, France, was noted for tiny figurines
of people and farm animals which were so popular
that their production continued until the beginning
of this century. The village of Lauscha, Germany,
was entirely employed in the making of Christmas
ornaments at the lamp. Venice itself employed
lampworking techniques in making beads and millefiori,
tiny murrines that looked like flowers.
At the turn of the 20th century the Polish father
and son team, Rudolph and Leopold Blaschka, combined
to create what is arguably the most stunning example
of lampwork the world has ever seen. They were
already well known for their glass models of marine
life when Virginia Ware of the Harvard Botanical
Museum commissioned them to undertake a mammoth
project, the creation of detailed botanical models
of every known variety of common plant in Europe.
Using only a simple bellows-driven lamp and a
variety of home-made tools, the Blaschkas produced
the models with wire frameworks to give them structure
and enamels and paints to duplicate the coloration
and texture of the plants. For the next thirty
years they created some 800 models. The results
were stunning! The models are so lifelike that
even close scrutiny cannot distinguish between
the glass and the "real thing". Most
are still on display at Harvard's Peabody Museum.
To this day, no one has ever succeded in reproducing
the Blaschkas's techniques or in duplicating the
quality of their work.
The demand for refined scientific instruments
continued unabated through the 19th century. Although
equipment and tools became more sophisticated,
the basic material -- the glass formulas -- were
the same as when invented more than 200 years
before. Therefore, the apparati were prone to
leaching when exposed to caustic chemicals and
had a tendency to shatter when repeatedly heated
and cooled. In 1924 scientists working at the
glass factories in Corning, New York, invented
a new, more resilient glass which was composed
of a large percentage of uncombined silica, used
boron instead of soda or lead, and contained a
small percentage of aluminum for clarity. This
new borosilicate glass, named Pyrex, has a very
low coefficient of expansion and is very resistant
to thermal and physical shock. As it is about
15% lighter by volume than traditional glass,
but much stronger, Pyrex was ideal for apparati.
However there was one problem: the melting temperature
was so high that the forced-air lamps could not
melt the glass and the material could not be worked.
Borrowing from the welding trade and combining
oxygen and natural gas, new burners were designed
that produced a flame of sufficient heat to melt
Pyrex; and torches clamped to the lampworker's
bench top replaced traditional oil lamps. These
too were eventually replaced by the modem surface-mix
bench burners in use today.
The advent of Pyrex revolutionized lampworking
in north America. Although developed for scientific
instruments, Pyrex soon found its way into the
hands of artists and artisans who adapted the
glass for "artistic" and novelty pieces.
"Glassblowers" began popping up at county
fairs and tourists traps across the United States
making and selling their items in front of appreciative
crowds. No one called it art, but everyone enjoyed
it just the same, and all across America the public
came to associate "glassblowing" with
the lampworkers they encountered at carnivals,
theme parks and, later shopping malls --blown
swans filled with colored water, little spun glass
ships, animals that could be made cheaply and
sold quickly. Quality and creativity were not
relevant issues and lampworkers copied each other
mercilessly until all novelty lampwork started
to look alike.
In Europe, however, the introduction of borosilicate
glass did not denote the death toll for old traditions.
In Lauscha, local craftsmen continued working
strictly with German soda-lime glass, busily perfecting
centuries-old techniques and, at times, unconsciously
crossing the line from novelty to art. In particular,
Albin Schaedel, developed and perfected a technique
-- montage -- that came to characterize East German
lampwork from the l960's on. Montage is simply
the assembly of many pieces of tubing into one
large bubble which is then shaped into a final
vessel form. This technique is incredibly difficult
and time consuming, and Schaedel and a few other
Lauschans are the only ones in the world who have
mastered it. The resulting vessels are impossibly
intricate and very, very beautiful. Perhaps the
greatest master craftsman from Lauscha is Kurt
Wallstab, whose work is internationally acclaimed
for its beauty and perfection.
Venetian lampworkers also clung tenaciously to
their traditional soda glass formulas, primarily
for color compatibility, especially as the Moretti
factory there continued to produce a broad spectrum
of brilliantly colored cane, which local lamp
workers were busily mastering to create brightly
colored pieces of a quality unequaled anywhere
in the world. Modern masters like Lucio Bubacco,
Vittorio Costantini, and Gianni Toso carry on
the Venetian traditions and techniques.
However,in Czechoslovakia one remarkable woman,
Vera Liskova, elevated borosilicate lampworking
into a fine art. Her large, striking, abstract
sculptures captured the imagination of art critics
and collectors during the 1970's until her untimely
death in 1979. Liskova's influence can be seen
today in the work of several prominent East European
lampworkers including the Poles Paulina Komorovska
and Anna Skibska who make large, fragile, austere
sculpture composed of impossibly thin pieces of
glass assembled into a greater whole.
Godo Frabel, a young East German who had completed
his apprenticeship with Jena Glaswerke in Mainz,
emigrated to the United States in 1965 and got
a job as a scientific glass blower in Atlanta,
Georgia. In 1968 realized his life long dream
by establishing his own studio and gallery which
presented lampworking as a true art medium for
the first time in America. He specialized in the
depiction of everyday objects in glass in unexpected
contexts: a sculpture of coat hangers, a row of
giant glass nails pounded into a plank with a
glass hammer frozen in mid-strike, a faucet with
a drop of water suspended forever. Frabel's innovative
approach to lampworking was an inspiration to
a generation of lampworkers, many of whom copied
him shamelessly, but all of whom were deeply influenced
by him. All across America, young lampworkers
followed Frabel's example and tried, with varying
degrees of success, to emulate his approach.
One of these was a young woman who had just received
her degree in fine art from the University of
Georgia--Ginny Ruffner. She began working for
Frabel in 1975 and, although her background was
in painting, she saw something in the glass that
intrigued her. She worked with Frabel for five
years, developing her ability, then set out on
her own and began exploring her own vision of
lampworked glass as a serious art medium. Her
work was so unique in its approach, so undeniably
creative, that she received almost immediate acclaim.
By sandblasting the glass, she found that she
could then paint on the surface. The rough surface
allowed paint to adhere to the non-porous material
and, suddenly, the possibilities were endless.
The results were undeniably art and, for the first
time lampworking was recognized as a medium for
fine art by art critics, gallery owners, and collectors.
Ginny had cleared the way, and soon the path was
filled with young artists, emboldened by her success.
The old image of the carnival novelty, the side
show attraction, was swiftly replaced by a new
breed of daring and innovative artists who were
not afraid to break rules and turn their backs
In the past ten years a revolution of sorts has
taken place in lampwork, not just in the acceptance
on the part of the public, but in the vision lampworkers
have of themselves. Traditional themes have given
way to outrageous forms of expression and endless
experimentation. Lampworked art is being shown
and sold along side painting and sculpture in
the finest art galleries in the United States,
Europe, and Japan. Around the world flameworking
artists of all nations share a hunger for knowledge,
both technical and esoteric, that will drive the
development of this medium for years to come.
Article source: http://www.artofvenice.com/art/Lampwork1.htm