WATCH: Glassmaster Paul Stankard on glassblowing artistry



Just want to pipe up and say that i REALLY dig seeing pieces like this (and the Creston Lea film a few weeks ago) on Boing Boing. Thank you and keep it up.


Beautiful work.

The movie is a bit slow. The proportion of actual glassworking in the video track could be several times higher, and would tell more about the artist than long shots of a static photo or a talking head.

That said, the parts where actual working of the glass was shown were pure maker porn. The actual show of the skills, the dance of glass in the flame that makes it flow just the right way and not a bit more… More of that, please!


Here you go, 66 mins of pure maker porn!


The delicate nature of his creations is indeed mindblowing.

The tiny details, rendered with the almost-symmetry of the natural world, are a reminder of how intricate plants and animals are.

Since I was very young, I have always loved images of extreme magnification of plants and insects. The many facets of a fly’s eye or the structure of a dragonfly wing is beautiful to behold, and is what I was reminded of when I looked at these artworks.

I grew up surrounded by glass art…a lot of Paul Stankard’s “paperweights,” eco-spheres suspended…I vividly remember (with a cringe) heckling him with ideas for future works during a speech at a gallery in Boca. “What about a scorpion? You made bees, what about a scorpion? What about a snake?” I meant like a small snake, but it didn’t matter anyway. I was ten.

Could we put a muzzle on that kid?

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Finally got time and attention to watch it in a single piece. Still somewhat lightweight on the actual glasswork but there’s enough to make it well-worth the time. The camera job is suboptimal but probably the best that can be done under such conditions, and still good enough.

The Corning Museum of Glass has a lot of goodies on youtube.

Again, thank you :slight_smile:

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Also, one weird trick for low-cost sort-of-experience with flameworking glass. Working with a small pencil-type butane torch and hot-melt glue sticks. They behave similar to glass, regarding softening behavior with temperature (like pretty much all amorphous materials) and are pretty useful for all sorts of things, from gluing stuff together (unlike glue gun from which the glue cools down too fast, but which is neverthless good for depositing for subsequent flame-remelting; hot-air gun does the same job but with less control; the scale is hot-air rework station, small torch, “grown-up” hot air gun, and I did not need the last one yet, maybe for gluing a carpet). The softening, transfer of parts and smearing over surface to join together works very similarly to glass, as does flame polishing, just couple 100s degrees lower.

With such torchwork, you can glue together a shoe with a long-lasting joint (the trick is melting the glue on both sides of the joint, until it spreads out and wets the surfaces well), or mould a connector body of an arbitrary shape with a strain relief (with success I used three kinds of glue sticks once; one firm-and-tough for the connector body itself, one common translucent soft one for cable strain relief, one colored for recognizing between headphones and mike jack).

I did also some minor artwork with molten glass, limited by the size of the available torch; mostly small earrings. Used glass beads instead of rods, due to availability. Found that glass behaves pretty much like hot-glue, with the time-constants for heat transfer and melting/solidifying being the largest difference, and both having some slight differences that can play against you, or, if you get the “feel” for the material, for you.

Also, I found that having even such little experience with the materials greatly increases the enjoyability of the “maker porn”; the main difference is the fingers-twitch when you mimic their hand movements in your mind, whether it is glasswork, welding, or machining on a lathe.

Todo: get that bloody lampworking-beads course I am thinking about for ages and nothing is showing up in a reasonable distance or time (or I keep missing it). They say it is a female kind of craft, but who cares; maybe I am too far detached from the society, but engineering is engineering whether it involves crafting a bead, welding a pipe, sewing a shirt mod on a sewing machine, or turning a workpiece on a lathe. In all the cases it is an intimate talk between the engineer and the material, a dialogue that ends up with the material being convinced into the desired shape.

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