Most people have seen images of glass blowing, whether traditional methods where the artist blows using their own mouth, or the scientific method that uses machinery for the blowing process. But videos and article usually show small, round pieces being made. Have you ever thought about how a beautiful glass dome is made? A large glass dome seems like a lot of surface area to be shaped by hand once you begin to think about it, and it takes a lot of skill to do it right. Here are some of the secrets to making a mouth blown glass dome with base that you see for sale in our shop.
Mouth Blown Glass
The basics of mouth blown glass remain the same whatever the eventual shape you want. First, high quality sand known as Silica, soda, lime and small quantities of other metals and metal oxides are together placed in crucible container and then in a furnace to melt together. Temperatures reach around 2,000º F and the resulting liquid glows red in the heat.
Using a blowpipe, a tube made from iron or steel and around four feet long, the glass blower collects molten glass on the end by dipping it into the crucible, and then blows through the blowpipe to expand the glass by creating a bubble. Outside the furnace, the still partly molten glass can be shaped using tools, flat rolling surface known as a marver, and further air through the blowpipe and so on to get the shape desired. As the glass cools it becomes unworkable, and so regular reheats are required to keep it flexible.
Creating a dome
One of the more difficult shapes, a dome has the curves that require supreme skill to form, but also thin rounded walls that are strong and uniform to avoid distortion. This requires careful shaping, and is a display of the glass artists talent, requiring expert blowing while constantly rotating the glass to form the desired circular shape. At various stages, the glass is returned to the glory hole for reheating to maintain malleability, and for a large glass dome, this can mean a number of reshaping and reheating processes before the dome reaches the desired shape and size.
Using wooden forms, the dome shape is gradually created, ensuring perfect arcs and circles. With those wooden forms being made to suit the style of dome needed, any custom size or shape can be created. We simply take the details of the required dome and create a bespoke form for that. This is another advantage of the handmade process, the flexibility to create custom domes. Machine based solutions use specific forms and would be both more time consuming and much more expensive for one-off sizes.
Once the shape is formed, whether one of our standard sizes or a custom order, the still soft glass is cut to size, leaving the dome shape and uniform walls. The glass is then annealed for strength and once cooled and cured, the base of the dome is ground to remove sharp edges for safety. Once this is done, polishing completes the process and leaves you with a wonderful, mouth blown glass dome.
Our glass domes
Our glass domes are mouth blown in Poland by experts with huge experience in an industry that has been a tradition in the region for generations. As you can imagine, with this handmade process each glass dome with base we offer is completely unique, each with their own minor differences from the mouth blown process.
A large glass dome made with this traditional way offers something spectacular for your home, and you can find our complete range available in our online shop.