Each piece of Earth & Fire glass begins with multiple gathers of melted glass from the 2100 degree (F) furnace onto the blow pipe. From there Philip applies layers of clear and colored glass to the surface and manipulates it to create the various patterns and surface designs characteristic of his work.
After additional gathers from the furnace the piece is ready to be blown. By cooling, blowing and reheating different parts of the glass in sequence, Philip creates the proper wall thickness in the bubble of glass. A jack-line in the glass is formed at the pipe's end. This will allow the glass bubble to transfer to the punt with a clean even break.
The punty transfer may be the most exciting part of the process. Philip Jacobs is one of just a few glass artists who work solo, that is, without any assistance. The intensity rises as he moves quickly through the studio, gathering fresh glass on the punty (this is a solid steel rod similar in size to a blowpipe) as the original glass bubble sways on a stand waiting.
He rolls the punty a precise number of times to cool it to just the right temperature. If it is too hot it will permanently adhere to the glass bubble, and if too cold it will be incapable of holding its weight. Philip quickly attaches the tacky punty to the bottom of the bubble and breaks the pipe free by chilling the jack-line with drops of water and then hitting the pipe with the end of a steel tool.
Philip now uses the punty to control the hot glass. He heats the open end where the blowpipe was removed until it is soft and malleable. At this point he can finish and refine its shape to complete the form. When he is satisfied with the piece, Philip moves to the annealing oven. He breaks the glass free from the punty and quickly lifts it into the oven with kevlar mitts. The glass will cool slowly overnight and reveal its true colors only when it reaches room temperature the following day.
Visit our gallery to watch the exciting process of glassblowing, right from the gallery floor!