A glassblower creates and shapes glassware by heating glass to high temperatures and then shaping it with the use of a blowpipe and various other techniques.
If you have good manual dexterity skills, are creative, and enjoy art and sculpture then you might like to become a glassblower.
The art of glass blowing has existed since the first century BC.
While there are many modern methods to create glass products, glass blowers use tried and tested techniques to make beautiful sculptures and objects of art.
Most glassblowers sell their work from their own workshop or gallery or on consignment in another art gallery.
Others may sell online or do work on contract for clients.
Education Requirements to Become a Glassblower
Before you make a decision to become a glassblower, you should try and learn as much as you can about this craft.
Take a trip to local galleries and museums in your area to have a look at some of the art on display.
You could also find out if there are any artists near you that you could visit.
You might like to talk to them about their work, or even the steps they took to become a glass blower.
A good next step is to attend a glass blowing workshop.
You’ll learn some basics and also get to give the craft a shot for yourself.
If you have decided at this point that you would like to become a glass blower, then it’s time to do some serious training.
There are a few different ways that you could learn the craft.
While these positions are rare, you could complete an apprenticeship with a glass blower.
Another option it to attend a fine art school or a college where you will be able to take subjects in glassblowing.
Once you are making beautiful objects of art, you’ll also need to be able to sell them.
Promoting yourself will be a big part of your work.
You could approach galleries to see if they would sell your work on consignment.
You could also start a website to sell your products online.
Glassblower Job Description
A glassblower works in a studio or workshop.
To make a glass object, they start with a molten lump of glass on the end of a blowpipe or blow tube.
Various techniques are used to give shape to the glass.
The glassblower will inflate the glass with small sharp breaths.
They will then shape it using tools such as jacks, paddles, and tweezers.
When you become a glass blower, your work will be physically demanding.
You’ll be working in hot conditions, and will need to use a lot of physical strength.
Vases, lamps, beads, glasses, and bowls are all made using glass blowing techniques.
Here are some of the tasks of a glass blower:
- Melting down glass
- Heating glass in stages using furnaces
- Blowing glass
- Working with different colors
- Using techniques to shape glass
- Selling glass objects to clients
- Self-promotion and marketing
Glassblower Salary and Career Path
Once you’ve learned the skills required to become a glassblower, you’ll need to spend some time establishing yourself as an artist.
There are many different ways you might do this.
You could open a shop to sell your own art from, or have a booth at art and craft markets.
Many emerging artists start a website to sell their work from.
There are also many sites which cater to artists that want to sell their own work such as ETSY.
You could also approach galleries to see if they will exhibit and sell your work.
Having your work appear in an exhibition is always a good way to promote yourself and sell your work.
The median salary of a fine artist and sculptor is $42,000 a year.
Almost 60% are self-employed.
Some similar roles to that of a glassblower include:
If you’re looking for a career that allows you to be creative and feed your passion for fine art and glass, you should become a glassblower.
While many artists make a good deal of money from their work, it can take a long time for some to achieve this.
However, if you are passionate about this craft and are willing to take some risks, then it could be right for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a glassblower?
Glassblowers create all sorts of designs using molten glass.
The skills of the professional determine the final shape of the glass that can become a vase, glass jar, a figurine, a piece of jewelry or even a work of art.
Glassblowers can use the traditional technique or a glass-molding technique to be able to increase the production of popular items and save time.
The traditional technique includes heating a combination of sand, limestone, potash, and ash to extreme temperatures, spooling the portion of molten glass on the end of a traditional blowpipe, and, ultimately, forming the shape (the technique is called “free-blowing”).
The glass should then be properly cooled, otherwise, it can easily break.
How much do glassblowers make?
The hourly rate of a glassblower can range from $10 to nearly $23.
According to BLS, the salary of a glassblower can be as low as $21.000 or as high as $48.000 and even more.
The average annual wage of a glassblower is around $32.600.
In case you are an entry-level glassblower, you can expect to make around $5.000-$6.000 more per year after gaining 3 to 5 years of experience in the field.
How much does it cost to become a glassblower?
To learn the art of glass blowing, you would have to find someone who can teach you or take a few classes.
The price of a class can vary a lot, however, in general, a weekend class will cost you around $300.
You would have to complete at least a few classes, before having the opportunity to rent a studio.
The studio expenses will depend on the place where you live.
Once you become better at the job, you might want to consider investing in making your own studio, rather than continuing to rent a space.
Bear in mind that you would have to spend a few thousand dollars on the necessary equipment (tools, glasses, gases, etc.).
What is the demand for glassblowers?
Even though the profession of a glassblower has been around for thousands of years, it is not really going to lose its relevance in the near future.
The outlook for the job has been negative since 2004 when the job opportunities have decreased by nearly 15%.
However, the demand is expected to go up and there will be an annual increase of around 7% over the next couple of years.
Mass-market is starting to lose its popularity nowadays and consumers are looking for something unique to add to their households and collections.
How long does it take to become a glassblower?
Just like with any other artsy profession, it might take you years and years to bring your craft to perfection.
However, it will not take a lot of time to learn the basics of glassblowing.
The majority of glassblowers learns the trade through on the job experience as there are only a few schools that offer certificates or degrees in such a narrow field.
Some say that significant motor skills can be acquired in 10.000 hours.