As a human with a strong pair of lungs, if you’re drawn towards a career in arts and crafts, then choosing a glass blower/designer career path may just be your ticket!
A glass blower is that professional tasked with moulding glass into various shapes and designs, creating handcrafted stemware, giftware, glassware, ornate glass mirrors and windows, sculpture pieces, and glass instruments utilized in laboratories.
This occupation is a labour-intensive and is considered a niche occupation. Glass blowing has been the traditional pattern of producing glass objects for over the last 250 years, and industrial advancements have mechanized the process to a great extent.
The process of glass blowing is divided into different stages and it requires the use of equipment like blowpipes, furnaces, baking kilns, and fine-art tools like engraving plates, stencils, and needles.
Functioning as a glass blower means you’d be involved in conceptualizing product ideas on commission, putting together the necessary tools and materials, and implement the plan to produce a finished product.
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Glass blowers are also sometimes enlisted to help restore and repair old glassworks. Often blowers, or ‘gaffers’, work independently or obtain employment in private studios, well-established glass artists and some huge-scale factories, such as Langham Glass and Bristol Blue Glass.
Salary & benefits
The average annual entry-level salary for a glass blower is not very high to begin with, since the job necessitates a significant amount of time spent in apprenticeships and grasping the in-depth details of this amazing craft.
The salary levels for entry-level range between £20,000 and £24,000, while experienced professionals in the field with an established portfolio earn over £35,000.
It is important to state that since the majority are self-employed, the above-written figure varies widely and is dependent on their schedule and profile of work they involve in.
For those glass blowers in a factory setting with a salary, they would have fixed hours and might have to work in shifts, while self-employed glass blowers typically works around the deadlines for projects or their client requirements.
A Degree, diploma in addition to other foundational courses in art (which involves ceramics, 2D and 3D design, glass or other applied arts, restoration and conservation techniques) are very applauded, although this career path is open to all interested individuals from all works of life.
Training & progression
Glass blowers/designers for their personal growth need to keep in touch and be updated with the latest industry, design, and business trends, including changes and improvements in the methodologies and tools related to glass blowing.
As a glass blower it is advisable to continue with your professional education, in addition to expanding your portfolio of commissions and design samples, as this is an absolute necessity for your career progression.
Explore opportunities outside the UK, especially in mainland Europe, where glass blowing and design has a long and rich traditional history.
There are other areas where opportunities abound as a glass blower, these areas are architectural projects in the hospitality industry, museums, and private galleries.
There are also subject-specific courses in the profession of glass design and blowing and these courses are offered by lots of institutions and organizations across the United Kingdom, including NVQ, SVQ, and BTEC Professional Development Awards.
Programs of apprenticeship in stained-glass conservation, architectural glass design, and glass-making are also courses available to you.