How Everything Works
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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
 
Question 670

How do you create sculptures out of glass? - RD
While I know how to work with glass in principle, I'm certainly not able to make sculptures. Although anyone can shape glass, doing so with artistry and precision requires great skill. In effect, glass is a frozen liquid. Its microscopic structure is very similar to that of a liquid and it softens with temperature rather than melting abruptly. If you heat a piece of glass carefully with a propane torch, it will begin to flow as a thick liquid (like cold honey). In that state, it can be reshaped rather easily. But making it take the shapes you want is a whole other story and something I know little about. I have bent lots of glass tubes in my day, but I often kink the tubing or smash it flat by accident. A skilled glassblower can do seemingly impossible things with glass. I should also note that glass can be cut or shaped by a water-cooled abrasive wheel. Again, anyone can slice and dice glass but it takes great skill to do something attractive. I usually chip the glass pieces that I try to cut.
         

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