Glass: A Unique Material

Glass and Glass Blowing

Known as volcanic glass or obsidian natural glass, glass was discovered by mankind in ancient times and used as decorative tools, knives, arrow heads, weapons and jewelry by processing this natural mineral.

Despite the lack of evidence on how artificial glass was first produced, Roman historian Pliny refers to the Phoenician sailors as the first discoverer of glass. According to the story, sailors set up a camp on the beach at the Prolemais region of Syria and started a fire, and then placed their containers and their loads of soda blocks on. The next day when they woke up, they saw that the heat of the fire formed sand and soda to glass. Although it is said that Egyptians and the Phoenicians produced glass first at 2 BC, the glass samples found at Mesopotamia date back to 3 BC. Glass in ancient times often was produced in the care of kings and at workshops under the patronage of the king or to meet the needs of the very rich. Nevertheless, since the first day it was produced, it is used as alternative to precious stones and man-made metalwork. Beginning from the Roman period; stone, metal and ceramic objects are imitated during the production of almost all glass objects.

Most important progress in the art of glass is the discovery of blowing method. It is said that this technique was found by the Phoenicians during 1st mid-century, but taking the full advantage of this technique was not until the introduction of the pipe, a hollow metal bar that allows blowing (estimated around to last quarter of the 1 BC). Combination of pipe and blowing method is one of the most important milestones of glass making. Common feature of Seljuqs, Artuqid dynasty and Ottomans glass was that they were all made by the use of the blowing technique.

In cases where glass-blowing techniques are used; hot glass is gathered from the furnace and blown, at this point it starts to cools down a bit and can be dipped again into melted glass for a larger form. As for the ladling method, glass is cooled and formed with a wet wooden ladle while the pipe is rolled continuously. Blowing process is carried out once the appropriate temperature is reached. After the blowing process it is shaped either by free-form or with help of a mold (by blowing into the mold). During all these stages, color can be added to glass by using the special crystal glass dyes. One of the methods commonly used other than free forming and blowing is the casting method (glass is poured into a mold).  Treatability of glass while hot allows those who work with this material to show their proficiency.  Thus, many glass pieces are produced in different forms, colors and patterns. Transparency is one of the most important factors in glass formation. This factor probably does not matter so much for any other material. Due to its transparency, glass is not very visible like other materials. To design a material that is not easy to see naturally makes it a challenge. Methods and materials that are used today to produce glass are known and applied since the ancient periods. There has not been a significant change in instruments used for making glass since the discovery glass-blowing technique either.

Where can I find out information on glass in Turkey?

  • Sisecam Home Page The leading glassware manufacturer in Turkey. You can shop online too.
  • Turkish Glass Art from the Turkish Culture Foundation.
  • Cam Mühendislik’s photo gallery on our site.
  • Glassware in Turkey
  • Turkish Glass Artists

About

The Glass Furnace was first designed as a glass studio but has quickly become one of the world’s leading glass schools and this is the outcome of a long and intensive work. Since the day it was founded, The Glass Furnce has been hosting world renowned artists, teaching various glass techniques to Turkish students and students from all over the world, through different duration workshops.

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