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A Self Portrait in Graal

Art Glass Vase

Created by The Glass Forge
The graal process is quite involved, it includes making an almost solid bubble, letting it cool and "painting" on it with glass. The glass is then heated back up to 1000 degrees and gathered over the "paint," blowing it into the final shape.

To create an object, the gaffer must gather a small amount of molten glass to begin the process. The gather is taken to a bench and rotated in a wooden cup to chill and obtain a round shape. After this, colors may be added and patterns developed before more glass is gathered to obtain the amount of glass needed to accomplish any given piece. Once this has been achieved the gaffer will slightly chill and start the first bubble in the gather. As this bubble inflates, the molten mass is hand shaped and reheated many times in a glory hole.

Blocks, paddles, jacks and wet newspapers all take part in pushing the mass into a work of art. Bits and gathers may be added to form feet, handles, lip wraps and abstract forms. Depending on the piece, the process could take up to 2 hours and involve assistants.

Every completed piece is nestled away into a 950 degree annealing oven to prevent fractures at room temperature. The piece will be soaked to the required temperature then slowly cooled to room temperature. Not until the next morning will you be able to touch the brand new form. Only then will you be able to critique the material and craftsmanship of your efforts.

To clean the glass, you may use any glass cleaner and towel, as there are no paints used, there is no need to worry about rubbing any color off.

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