Sunday, 19 June 2011

Glass 2: In praise of the glassblower's art

I can never resist an opportunity to watch a craftsman applying his trade.  So, I often visit the glass-blowing workshop in my town.

It was established in 1958 in an old military building and was the first  in Norway to make Studio Glass.

The designer, Benny Motzfeldt, was the artistic director here in the 1970s and today, examples of her work are highly-prized and collected.

Glass designed by Benny Motzfeldt

Today, the workshop is owned and run by Kenyan born Abel Sawe.

You can feel the heat, as soon as you step inside.  Not surprising, considering that the smelting furnace melts the raw product and maintains it at a temperature of 1390 degrees centigrade.  This is where molten glass is gathered at one end of  a blowpipe.  At this stage, the glass has the consistency of very hot toffee.
Then, the design elements are incorporated.  In this instance, it is in powder form which the glass takes-up when rolled.

Then, short puffs down the blowpipe inflate it into a small bubble which can be formed in a mould and/or rolled into shape.  Time and again, however, it must be reheated in a second oven,  to the left,  as you see in this picture.

And so the glass is worked, re-heated and worked again. 
Each piece is unique.

Finally, the finished glass is placed in a cooling oven where it takes six or seven hours to gradually reach room temperature.

Here, in the adjoining shop there is an ever-changing exhibit of beautiful glass.

   Precious  jewel  coloured glass  

Opaque and transparent

Something for flowers, cakes, salads and liquiours.
A perfect present to myself or someone I care about.



  1. Hello Anna:
    Art, craft, science, surely glassblowing is all of these not to mention the physical strength needed to form and shape the molten glass. The rainbow colours of the glass objects on display and for sale are so very attractive and how lovely to own something which is both useful and beautiful.

    Abel Sawe is clearly a most talented artist and craftsman and we are so pleased to know of him and his work through you.

  2. Oh my! What stunning glass pieces. It fascinates me, so beautiful and formed into so many different things. Thank you for sharing this talentd craftsman :o)
    Best wishes
    Rose H

  3. We have a glass blower in our little town and people always seem to enjoy him. Thanks for House

  4. Gorgeous pieces. I love watching glassblowers at work. It is almost miraculous that a shapeless blob can be turned into something so beautiful.

  5. glass- blowing has always fascinated me. thansk for a lovely interesting post. i `ll follow : )

  6. Hello Anna
    Thank you for following my blog and leaving such lovely comments on my post.
    How glad I am to have discovered your own blog, and have enjoyed reading about the wonderful work of Abel Sawe. The beautiful glass pieces that he has created are amazing. I would find it hard to leave the shop without making a purchase :)
    Kind regards, Abby

  7. Hi Anna, I adore that old building, you would never think from the outside that the inside would contain such fascinating and colourful things. A lovely post, so very interesting, thankyou. Have a great week, love Linda x

  8. Hi Anna, thanks for popping by my blog and glad to have found your lovely site. Will enjoy reading more in time, but you picked one of my favourite things for your latest post - blown glass; I love it! I still harbour a strong desire to have a go. Perhaps one day.
    Will follow you with interest.

  9. Hi Anna, Thanks for stopping by and introducing yourself. You have a lovely blog. I love blown glass. such a skill and a treasure at the end of it. x

  10. Such a gorgeous form or art...stunning!!

  11. It's a fascinating art,isn't it? I remember watching a glass blower last year and thought if I was doing it, I would get it all wrong!! What a skill! Your post is really interesting! ;-)x

  12. How wonderful that you can go and watch this artist at work! I have a green glass ball hanging from my dining room chandelier. I love the way it looks with the light from the window shining through it.