Custom hand blown glass is something we do. Creating custom work can be fun and interesting… And at times, the creative process for custom work can lead to other ideas to explore in our glass sculpture.
There can be a lot of misconceptions in what is involved when making custom hand blown glass. People and clients sometimes say to me, “You blow glass so you should be able to make anything, right?”
I usually respond, “Well yes… and no.”
I like to think anything is possible. After all, we sent a man to the moon. Which brings me to one of the first considerations – budget. Having a rough idea of a potential client’s budget is important. It is important because the custom work being inquired about may not be possible due to budget constraints.
We may have to rethink the approach to design and concept of the project or glass sculpture in order to bring the cost within the client’s budget.
When simple may be difficult
Creating certain visual elements with hand blown glass may be extremely difficult to achieve. Sometimes to achieve a seemingly simple visual element may require substantial time, planning, and resources. This can add to the overall cost and time for the project.
Exact requirements may include color and size. For example, a custom glass sculpture that has to be exactly 19.5 inches tall versus a range between 18-20 inches may be more expensive. This is because everything is handmade. Many pieces may have to be made in order to achieve very exact requirements in size and color.
Additional work involved
Rarely can I just pick up a blow pipe for a custom glass project. The scope of a project may require some of the following before actually creating the final piece or installation.
- Simple to detailed drawings
- Color samples to be made
- Hardware and fabrication considerations
- Special shipping requirements
These examples can add considerable time to a project. Understanding a client’s expectations is important. Sometimes the additional work is needed for clarity between us and our clients for a successful project.
Making custom hand blown glass for a project, sculpture, or installation can be fun, exciting, and challenging… But it is usually not quite as simple as one might think.
By Bernard Katz