Our creations begin in our backyard out in the garage, in a room with two torches, two oxygen tanks, a propane tank, a kiln, our tools, plenty of glass, and of course the proper ventilation.
Before any glass making can occur, proper ventilation is a must. While making glass it is possible for particles of glass too small for the human to see to get into the air. To make sure we don’t in hale any of that, we always make sure to turn on our ventilation before starting any glass projects. Next, we put on our safety glasses because looking directly into the flame while glass working can be hazardous to ones vision. The kiln takes awhile to heat up so that gets turned on next to make sure it’s warmed up before we need to put anything in it.
After that we can turn on our propane and oxygen tanks which fuel our torches. Next, we spark our torches and get to work by heating up a glass rod or tube depending on the piece we are making. Glass rods must constantly be rotated while in the flame in order to evenly distribute heat throughout the glass at all times; doing so will cause the glass to fall into a circular shape until otherwise manipulated.
Once we have enough of the glass to its melting point we will begin manipulating it with various tools. Most of these tools are made out of graphite and titanium in order to resist the heat of the glass and torch while using them. Depending on the piece we are making we use various tools to shape the glass such as our pin pad, graphite pads, tongs, glass cutters, or most commonly other pieces of glass. Once we have the shape we want, we turn the torch down considerably to add color. Typically when adding color we are working with much smaller pieces so not much heat is needed. In addition colored glass is particularly vulnerable to prolonged heat exposure so special care is needed to ensure it doesn’t burn out and cause unappealing air bubbles. As we finish up our pieces we may even use a micro torch to add finishing touches, so that we don’t have to worry about over exposing the rest of our piece to the heat.
Additionally, if borosilicate glass is not cooled down properly it can jeopardize its strength. So after a lot of spinning when we are final finished with our pieces; we place our pieces in a kiln programmed to gradually bring our creations back down to room temperature.