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  Glass is an intriguing material. As a super cooled liquid it appears solid while the molecules remain in motion at an extremely slow rate. The primary ingredient in glass is silica sand, with metallic oxides added for color. This mixture is melted and maintained at a constant temperature exceeding 2000 degrees Fahrenheit in a furnace of high temperature brick . A hollow steel pipe, called a blowpipe, is dipped into the molten glass. The material is fluid, honeylike, and must be kept spinning to preserve the shape while it is formed. It is then worked with hand tools and additional glass, incorporating the colors and effects required by the designs of the artist. Hollow forms are blown, shaped, and then transferred to  a solid rod called a pontil or “punty”. The lip of the vessel is heated and manipulated to the desired shape. The completed vessel is then tapped off the pontil into an annealing oven to cool overnight. A range of iridescent colors is achieved by adding silver to the original formula and spraying the hot glass with tin chloride. Paperweights are made by forming a solid glass  sphere in layers of color from the core to the outside surface. The elements are then encased in clear glass. Pieces are sometimes worked with additional techniques after cooling, such as sandblasting, etching, and cutting with diamond tools.
Elaine Hyde has been a professional glass artist for over thirty years. She has won numerous awards and photographs of her pieces have appeared in several publications. Her work has been exhibited internationally in the finest galleries, shows and museums.


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