A Fleeting Glimpse of the Final Product
Nowhere is the chance for error as high as the final break-off point, when the piece leaves the rod to land in the gloved hands of someone wearing a flameproof suit. What started as a 2,000-degree blob of molten glass has become a 900-degree object of art, and it must be cooled slowly lest it shatter or crack. You'll only get a quick glimpse of the piece because an assistant is going to hustle it quickly into a slow-cooling oven. The cool-down process is called annealing, and in most cases, you can see the finished piece the next day. Larger pieces take longer. For one particularly stunning piece of glass art in our collection, it was so thick, so large and so complex, it had to be cooled for months.