Furnace Glassblowing Books, Videos, etc.

Rev.2001-02-04, 2003-04-24, 2005-03-04 (minor), 2008-03-30 (reformat)

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Books on other glass activities
(What can I do with Glass?)
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Sources - Books and Companies


Each of the books offered here is considered particularly good or useful in some area of furnace glass working. The "review" will normally make clear why it is here. Some of the older books are only available in libraries, which is where I found them. The newer books are available on line.
Beginning Glassblowing [Ed's Big Handbook of Glassblowing]
Glass Mountain Press, 927 Yew Street, Bellingham, WA 98226
[$27 with shipping, ]

The very best book on working with glass from a furnace, with a great attitude and lots of drawings.
The book is spiral bound, 88 page, 8 1/2 by 11, delight. It is hand lettered with drawings on every page and with a very light attitude. This is not about building equipment; pages 6 thru 9 describe and show tools and stuff, then page 10 is The Process. The steps are detailed, expanded upon and illustrated well. Ed is very much into drawing for glass artists saying it in several places including page 21 "The Top Ten Reasons Why Glass Students Must Draw", number 5 of which is "It's way cheaper to produce a zillion pieces."
The book is so full of information it is hard to limit a review; pages 70-72 have 7 different punty forms! Appendix B describes how to cook with glass making equipment!!
Any negatives? One of the reasons people have spent hundreds of years working on typography is that some fonts are easier to read than others and the width of line and spacing of letters affects reading quality. Some portions of the book, which is all done in single line width hand printing, are easier to read than others. 5/31/94 [Advanced Techniques due Spring 95. 11/24/94]

Edward T. Schmid
Glass Mountain Press, 927 Yew Street, Bellingham, WA 98226
$32.95 + $4 for priority mail, 320 pages, ISBN 0-9638728-1-8

This book by Edward T. Schmid is a dangerous book. I got my copy yesterday and read about 30 pages of the 320 pages of material and the blowing time for the things I want to do has passed the 1,000 hour mark.

While this book does not replace Ed's Big Handbook of Glassblowing as an introduction to techniques and attitudes of getting involved in glass, it is not as fearsome as the title might reflect. If I were teaching classes and felt I had a sure set of exercises and skills to bring students up from beginner, I would encourage purchase of this book because the essentials of working glass at the advanced beginner and low intermediate level are there at the beginning of the book.
Ed's books are hand written and hand drawn with a number of drawings per page that might make it an economic disaster if the drawings were processed separately. The beginning of this book is a series of drawings of glass objects with explicit statements of the techniques needed for making them, which reference sections of the book.
Ed gives alternative methods of doing many things (such as punties) and makes his attitude of "If it works, do it." clear and specific. 15 Apr 1998


Glass Notes, A Reference
Henry Halem
Franklin Mills Press
Also available from Whitehouse Books, Corning NY

. $30 per book plus $4 s&h for the first book, $2 for each additional. Make checks to Franklin Mills Press [P.O.Box 906, Kent OH 44240, 330-673-8632, FAX 330-677-2488, hhalem@glassnotes.com] and MasterCard or Visa may be used. 11/20/96 Also available from Whitehouse Books, Corning NY

HENRY HALEM'S GLASS NOTES, 3RD EDITION is terrific. If you saw the first edition, which was reported to me as basically a reprint of the notes given students, or the second, which added some information about furnaces and annealers, the difference in the third will astound you.
In the first place, it is organized, so that related information is together. Second, it has complete information on building the equipment a small studio needs (while the first had, for example, only information on building a big tank furnace, while this one repeats that information and adds both invested pot and free standing pot furnaces.) While the first edition had specifics on things that Halem had experienced, this edition has tons of specifics extending details in many needed areas. For example, there are three pages of adhesives with sources, advantages, disadvantages and applications. This opens a section that includes decals, enamels, paints, sandblast resist, mold separator, photo emulsion, silver nitrate use, and copper electroforming. There are 12 sections covering formulas, annealing, casting, pot furnaces, tank furnaces, blowing benches and people, annealers and electric elements, glory holes, burners and reference lists. Lots drawings to support the text. Like the first edition, this book does not discuss studio layout or techniques of glass blowing.


How Glass Is Made
Alan J. Paterson
Facts on File Publications, 1986
Dallas Oaklawn, 666.1 P296H

One of the best books as an introduction to blown glass, if only because it has very good pictures on the cover and inside of all the steps and the equipment used in blowing glass. I found two errors: the temperature given for glass in the furnace is much too high (3020 F) apparently due to a bad translation of the Centigrade temp - 1500) and the drawings do not include jacking the piece down to get it off the pipe. A good youth oriented book with good pictures and information 3/26/97


The Making of Fine Glass
Sidney Waugh
Dodd, Mead & Company 1947
666.1 W354M CBT BLW Dallas Public Library 8/29/93 Made copies 11/7/94 of complex bowl. Steuben, Corning

This book has marvelous shaded drawings of glass blowing tools and the process of creating two pieces, with some photos of pieces and the engraving process. The production pictures do not show people and totally fail to make clear the process of returning to the heat. It also contains the following statement: "It must be emphasized that glass blowing, as described in these pages, is not within the scope of the amateur or of even the most talented artist or craftsman working alone. ... Due to its high temperature in the working state, glass can be manipulated only for a very short time and, as the several parts must be joined at precisely the right moment and at just the proper heat, it is physically impossible for a man working alone to produce and object of any but the simplest character."  So much for the art glass studio movement.


Glassblowing, A Search for Form
Harvey K. Littleton
Van Nostrand Reinhold
450 West 33rd St. New York NY 10001
LC 73-153458
Dallas Pub.Lib.-Fretz Park 748.2 L781G 8/6/91 9/7/93

Personal views and involvement in early contemporary glassblowing Good pictures and personal discussions of author's own work and his experiences with Labino and Eisch and start of Toledo show. Excellent basics on tools and building furnaces and equipment. Closeup photos of glass being worked.
Covers some of the early years (1959+) of modern glassblowing, explorations of batch, and many essentials of blowing, with good pictures if you want to share with people. 9/7/93 Formulas and efforts with glass. No use of newspaper; little mention, no use of jacks. Having seen Littleton's work in Toledo, the black and white pictures really fail to show the delicacy of his work (and on historical pieces.)



If you want videotape of a good glassblower working solo, Glass Axis [P.O.Box 2485, Columbus OH 43216 $45.00] is offering a 150 minute tape of Bill Gudenrath. The taping was done in April 1992 during a demonstration at the Columbus College of Art and Design. The tape includes 57 minutes of a goblet and a vase being made, followed by 50 minutes of making a dragon stem goblet he is famous for and that is followed by 39 minutes of chalk talk and question and answer. I have seen part of the tape and it is well made and shows details nicely. HGB#13
The video of Bill Gudenrath that I mentioned in HGB#13 is also available from Whitehouse Books

 for the same $45 price, according to an ad in Glass magazine. They are also pushing a $60 book, GLASS 5,000 Years Edited by Hugh Tait as having a step-by-step section by Gudenrath on techniques. "Whitehouse Books maintains the world's largest selection of glass reference books." 7/18/93 HGB#14

And there are lots of glassblowing videos on YouTube, some of which are listed here videos.htm

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