What is a glass gather? – A glass gather is a term used in glassblowing to describe the process of collecting molten glass on the end of a blowpipe. A blowpipe is a long, hollow metal tube that is used to blow air into the molten glass, shaping it into various forms.
To create a glass object, the glassblower will first heat the end of the blowpipe in a furnace, which typically reaches temperatures of over 2000°F (1100°C). Once the blowpipe is hot enough, the glassblower will dip it into a furnace containing molten glass. The glass will then adhere to the end of the blowpipe, forming a small ball of molten glass, which is called a gather.
The glassblower will then shape the gather by rolling it on a steel surface called a marver. This helps to shape the glass into a cylindrical shape and remove any air bubbles that may have formed. Once the glass has been shaped, the glassblower will blow air into the blowpipe, forcing the molten glass to expand and take on the desired shape.
Multiple gathers can be taken during the glassblowing process, and each gather will add more glass to the piece being created. As the glass cools, it becomes less malleable, making it more difficult to shape, so the glassblower will often reheat the glass in the furnace to keep it pliable.
The process of gathering glass is a crucial step in the glassblowing process and requires skill and experience to master. The size and shape of the gather, as well as the timing of each gather, can all affect the final product. By carefully controlling the gathering process, glassblowers can create a wide range of intricate and beautiful glass objects.