Furnace: the Art of blowing

Glass making

Giovanni Nicola

Glass Master


The aim is to become familiar with the basic techniques of hot glass processing and to travel back in time, through the practice of these techniques descended from an ancient tradition, thanks to the continuous oral narration of the most ancient method of glass production.

Students will learn to take the glass from the oven (first raise) in order to prepare the core of the glass object (through marbling and glassblowing), to raise it again and give a first shape to the vitreous mass, to prepare a pontello for hanging, to turn the glass to the master, until the realization, first with a help then by themselves, of simple objects such as a glass or bowl.



Among the other furnace techniques, glassblowing, invented as far back as the end of the 1st century B.C. in the Middle East and widespread in Roman times, allows you to create everyday objects, from decorative elements to lighting. Glassblowing is also used to craft drinking glasses – especially the traditional Venetian goblet – and plates and vases. Various hot-worked decorations kare applied to it, resulting in the development of complex techniques such as filigree and zanfirico, reticella, hollow-core and murrine working and incalmo. The working of massive pieces of glass allows the creation of sculptures and artistic design objects.


5-DAY WORKSHOP: 15 hr practice + 15 hr observation

Day 1


Introduction to Murano glass history and techniques.

Introduction to  furnace equipment, tools and materials (introduction to glass composition).

Cutting hot glass mass with scissors  and diamond cutters.

Day 2 to 4


First raise: taking hot glass from the oven. 

Marbling: preparing the core of the glass object.

Giving a first shape to the vitreous mass. 

Opening the hot vitreous mass with hand movements.

Turning the hot glass to the master. 


• Free blowing: inflating molten glass into a bubble with the aid of a blowpipe.

• Mold-blowing: a glob of molten glass is placed on the end of the blowpipe, and is then inflated into a wooden or metal carved mold. In that way, the shape and the texture of the bubble of glass is determined by the design on the interior of the mold.

Pontello technique: preparing a pontello for hanging. (Pontello is an iron rod to whom the craftsman attaches the object after blowing in order to add final touches).

Day 5


Realization of simple objects such as a glass, a vase, a plate or a bowl, first with a help then by themselves.

Using of different decoration techniques.


Accademia di Belle Arti Legalmente Riconosciuta “Rosario Gagliardi”
Rosario Gagliardi Srl

Via Cairoli, 20
96100 Siracusa

VAT n. 01826720896

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