Why do glassblowers use wet folded newspaper to shape glass?

— 22 May 2020 09:30:08 by Default Admin


A short video clip of Nicola Schellander papering a hot gather of glass

At an art glass or glassblowing studio, a furnace which is filled with transparent raw material. This has been carefully melted at very high temperatures. The glass is contained inside a large crucible, a little like a very large, hot jar of honey!

When a glassblower begins to shape the molten glass on the end of the blow pipe, he uses a series of tools. One of which is wet newspaper.

To be worked and kept hot, the glass needs to be kept above 1000⁰ F.

The newspaper is soaked in water before use. The newspaper soaked in water and keep wet by adding a handful of water from a block bucket (where wooden blocks are kept) or by squirting from a water bottle.

The hot glass is actually sitting or rolling on a layer of steam between the wet newspaper. It is the challenge of the glassmaker to continually keep turning the blowing iron on this layer of steam. One mistake, and you will lose your piece.

If the blowing iron stops turning, there is a risk of the newspaper sticking to the molten glass, and flaws can be created. Keeping the newspaper at the right humidity and away from the glass at the right moments is a skill that takes a long time to be mastered.

The pad is used by shaping it to the the flat of the hand and gently cupping it around the glass. Normally, once shaped, the newspaper pad is laid on the bench face up, and more water is added until the next reheat.

It has been said that The New York Times is legendary for being the best newspaper for working glass! "Bad" paper turns to pulp when wet, while "good" paper retains its shape and layers.

But as our glass is all made in England, we use English Newspapers!

If you would like to commission some work that is made by us, or simply have a chat about how we could help you design and produce some lighting, please email us at info@nicolaschellander.com or visit us on instagram.

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