Glass is an incredibly versatile material that can be shaped and formed in unlimited ways while having the artistic quality of being able to bend and reflect light in a very unique manner. Its versatility has unsurprisingly resulted in a wide array of glass art types and techniques.
There are three main categories of glass art that refer to how the glass piece was made. The three categories are called hot, warm, and cold glass. Every technique used by glass artists to work on glass falls in one of these three categories.
Glass art, created by heating glass at a temperature of 2000 degrees or more, is considered to be in the ‘hot’ category. The molten glass involved in this type of glass art is gathered from a furnace and is commonly used to create sculptures, vases, containers, and other items with techniques such as glass blowing and glass casting.
Glass blowing is a technique that involves gathering molten glass from a furnace to the end of a blowpipe in order to create glass bubbles.
Glass casting is carried out by placing molten glass into a mold where it solidifies.
The ‘warm’ glass category includes techniques that heat glass at a temperature of 1200-1600 degrees by using an oven or kiln. This category is also known as kiln-formed glass because a kiln is used instead of a furnace. Plates, tiles, and sheets are some of the common items created with warm glass techniques, such as slumping and fusing.
Slumping is a technique, which consists of heating glass to give it the shape of the surface below.
Fusing heats two or more pieces of glass to stick them together.
And last but not least, we have ‘cold’ glass. This category entails any glass art technique, that doesn’t require the glass to be heated.
Common cold glass techniques include polishing, cutting, engraving, grinding, sandblasting, and etching.
Etching techniques for example involve applying acid, or blasting gritty materials to the surface of the glass, in order to change its texture and appearance.