Who Discovered Glassblowing?
Ever wondered who discovered glassblowing? The modern art of glassblowing may use modern equipment, but the essence of working with glass remains an ancient art. Throughout history the basic knowledge and techniques of glassblowing have been highly coveted. At times they have been held sacred by only a select few.
Glassblowing origins link back to the Roman Empire. Around 300 BC the blowpipe was invented. From this point on the Roman Empire created new techniques for making glass vessels. Molds were used as well as glassblowing techniques and new formulas for color were invented.
Glass Blowing in Venice & Murano
Venice became the centre of glass making during the middle ages. The government wanted to control the knowledge and trade of glass, though. For this reason it forced all Venetian glassblowers to move to the island of Murano in 1291.
While in exile the Murano glassblowers developed an incredibly clear glass called ‘Cristalo’. Moreover they created new vivid colours such as deep blue, amethyst and emerald.
Many Venetian glassblowers managed to escape Murano. They spread their new techniques and colours throughout Europe and parts of Asia.
In the Renaissance period glassblowing techniques spread and developed throughout Europe. The first widely available textbook on glassblowing, was Arte Vetraria (The Art of Glass). It published in Italy in the 17th century. Window glass, glass bottles and glass drinking vessels became more common. They were readily accessible for the average person.
In the late 1800s mechanical presses were invented. That made the functional glass production faster and easier on a global scale. By the end of the 19th century glass bottles, jars, glasses, butter dishes and flower vases could be found in most homes.
Studio Glass Movement
In the 1960s the studio glass movement started in America. Individual artists opened their own glassblowing studios. They ran them independently to pursue their own artistic visions and develop new techniques for glassblowing, casting and carving. This movement spread. It still continues across the globe today.