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In The Making: Crystal Glass Blowing

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The Giant Mountains of Bohemia in the Czech Republic, are famous for their glass makers.

The oldest still working glass factory in Bohemia was established in the eighteenth century and today crystal is still mouth blown using the traditional methods.  Living deep in the woods of the Giant Mountains, the factory is perfectly positioned, surrounded by timber. Water springs from the ground. Quality glass sand is available locally.

*A designer draws the master design into a book, to keep a permanent record of the shape. This can then be traced by hand, each time a new mould is needed. 

*The shape is then cut out in cardboard, which is given to the mould maker as a template.

Molten glass is mouth-blown into a mould, which is made from locally sourced beech wood. The beech trunks are placed into a lake. Only when the trunks touch the bottom of the lake, are they ready to be processed. This saturates the wood with water, which extends the life of the mould. The wet trunks are taken out of the water and cut into big pieces.

*Wood is screwed to a lathe to be turned.

*Then the carved mould is cut in half. A lock and pair of handles are attached.

*A mould will produce around 70 pieces, by which time the shape has become enlarged by the molten glass, and so it can no longer be used for the glass blowing.

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*The used mould makes a great 'jig' to hold the vase straight when the neck is trimed.

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