Caneworking is one of the most difficult and time-consuming traditional glassblowing techniques. This technique allows glassblowers to add intricate patterns and stripes to a vessel or object. Cane refers to rods of glass that might contain a single, uniform color, or be they can be comprised of multiple colors with elaborate patterns.
The basic process requires that the glassblower start by gathering a mass of clear, molten glass on the end of a rod. The glass is then colored using any number of techniques. The glassblower proceeds by gathering additional clear glass over the color until the desired quantity is achieved. The molten glass is then shaped into a cylinder and an assistant brings another rod to be attached to the other end of the glass cylinder. With each end of the molten glass cylinder attached to a metal rod, the glassblower and assistant walk in opposite directions, stretching the glass into a long rod. While the cane is being pulled, it can also be twisted in order to create a spiral pattern. Upon cooling the cane is then cut into small sections.
To create a vessel like the cups pictured, the sections of cane are lined up side-by-side on a ceramic or graphite plate and slowly heated until they stick together and become slightly tacky. The tip of a glassblowing pipe is then covered with a short cylinder of molten glass called a collar. The collar is rolled across one edge of the aligned canes picking them up as it goes. The canes create a cylinder at the end of the blowpipe, which is heated and shaped to create the final vessel.
Dimensions: 2.75” x 4.75”
Materials: soda-lime glass
Date: Fall 2010