10 Best Glassblowing Books for Beginners & Experts (Reviews)


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List of the Best Glassblowing & Scientific Glassblowing Books for Beginners & Experts (Top 10 Picks)

Although glassblowing requires plenty of hands-on practice, books can still help provide both skills and inspiration.

Glassblowing is a very hands-on trade that is typically mastered through experience, but it can still be helpful to reference guidelines and projects completed by other people in the trade.

Whether you are a beginner or advanced glassblower, there is a glassblowing book that can benefit your particular interests and needs. Beginner glassblowers can build a solid foundation in the glassblowing trade by referencing credible books.

Advanced or professional blacksmiths who need inspiration may be interested in new kinds of projects, which can easily be acquired from books written by professional glassblowers and glass makers.

The following list comprises some of the most useful glassblowing book recommendations for glassblowers of varying experience levels.


1) Beginning Glassblowing 

By Edward T. Schmid Beginning Glassblowing (1ST)
  • 02/15/1998 (Publication Date) - Glass Mountain Press (Publisher)

Recommended for: Beginner-Advanced Glassblowers

Beginning Glassblowing  by Edward T. Schmid is a popular book among glassblowers. The author is very knowledgeable of the glassblowing craft. This book describes all of the important aspects of blowing glass using a furnace. He lists the tools needed to carry out glassblowing projects. The techniques he uses are thoroughly explained and professionally executed.

The illustrations and text found in this book are both hand-illustrated, giving it a very personal touch. These illustrations are very helpful for those following along with a project and the text is very easy to read. Shmid covers a breadth of information that is perfect for beginner glassblower, as the title would suggest.

Despite the novice aspect of some of the information, this book can serve as a great reference book for glassblowers of all experience levels.

Pros Cons
  • Great for glassblowers of all experience levels, but especially beginners
  • Great companion and reference book
  • Text is simple to read and has a casual tone
  • Good illustrations
  • Some of the hand-illustrated text may be difficult to read for some
  • Does not cover many advanced techniques or practices

 


2) The Art of Fire: Beginning Glassblowing

Art of Fire - Beginning Glassblowing
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Mckelvey, James (Author)
  • 06/16/2021 (Publication Date) - Third Degree (Publisher)

Recommended for: Beginner Glassblowers

The Art of Fire by James Mckelvey is another great beginner’s book. This book is made up of vivid illustrations and explains everything one needs to know about the basics of glassblowing.

Because of its level of detail, it can act as a great supplement to a glass studio class, much like a textbook on the matter. The author includes a very helpful troubleshooting section that can be invaluable to someone experiencing the same issues with their glasswork, but having trouble overcoming them. The author’s writing style in the text is very easy and clear to read.

Pros Cons
  • Great for beginner glassblowers
  • Concise and easy to read
  • Great reference book
  • Troubleshooting section
  • A lot of general information
  • May not be well-suited for more advanced glassblowers

3) Scientific Glassblowing

Scientific Glassblowing
  • Hardcover Book
  • E.L. Wheeler (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Recommended for: Intermediate-Advanced Glassblowers

Scientific Glassblowing by E.L. Wheeler is a classic glassworking book. This book acts as a helpful guide that demonstrates the glassblowing process step-by-step. The most useful aspect of this book is the detailed illustrations. The author of this book has a very technical background, which contributes a unique, scientific tone to the information presented within.

Since this book is such an in-depth guide, it is a fantastic reference book for glassworkers of different skill levels and even chemistry departments. The author covers a range of topics in this book, including the history of glass and the types of glass.

The general aspects of glassblowing and the equipment needed to complete certain projects are also described in detail.

Pros Cons
  • Great for glassworkers of all experience levels
  • Great illustrations
  • Step-by-step guide
  • May be too technical for some

4) Glassblowing: A Search for Form

Glassblowing/Search for Form Harvey K Littleton
  • Hardcover Book
  • Littleton,Harvey K (Author)
  • 143 Pages - 06/15/1971 (Publication Date) - VNR (Publisher)

Recommended for: Beginner-Advanced Glassblowers

Glassblowing by Harvey K. Littleton is a rare find. The author has a strong academic background in art research and is well-known for creating a method of glassworking at lower temperature conditions.

This revolutionary method allows one to melt glass inside a small studio rather than in a factory. Therefore, he was a major player in the movement that led to the inclusion of glassworking in many university craft programs.

This book is a great read for glassblowers who are genuinely interested in the intrinsic art aspect of the trade. While this book may describe technology or methods that are now outdated, it is a fantastic way to look into the history of the craft glass movement of the 1960s.

Pros Cons
  • Great reference for working on glass at low temperatures
  • Credible background in art and glassworking research
  • History of craft glass movement
  • Some technology or methods discussed in the book may be outdated

5) Backyard Glassblowing: Making It Work

Backyard Glassblowing: Making It Work
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Wingert, Lauren (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Recommended for: Beginner-Advanced Glassblowers

Backyard Glassblowing by Lauren Wingert provides an autobiographical point of view regarding the initial set-up of her backyard glassblowing studio. The material of value to take away from this book is the business aspect of opening a new studio.

The author thoroughly details the process of setting up her private hot shop with all the necessary equipment, but also relays the important steps she takes to launch her business. These steps include marketing, an effective business model, and the art of selling your art.

Winger includes monthly budget and capital cost information that can be invaluable for those trying to start their own glassblowing business.

Pros Cons
  • Great for glassblowers who would like to start their own glassblowing business
  • First-person perspective of setting up a glassworking studio
  • Budget and equipment cost information for a private studio
  • Not much information on glassblowing projects and techniques, most of the topics covered revolve around starting a businesses in glassworking
  • Does not serve as a quick reference book

6) Glassblowing: An Introduction to Solid and Blown Glass Sculpturing

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Recommended for: Beginnner-Advanced Glassblowers

Glassblowing by Homer L. Hoyt is a classic book found in the library of many glassworkers. This book is already out-of-print, but it covers glassworking concepts and “10 Lessons” that still apply to today’s regularly used glassworking methods.

This is a great book for beginner and advanced glassworkers, because it provides a solid foundation in the craft while simultaneously explaining every concept in a level of detail that skilled glassworkers would appreciate. The text is also accompanied by helpful drawings to give the reader visual context of the methods described.

The topics included in this book range from safety and equipment recommendations that will benefit someone who wants to learn more about getting started in the trade.

Pros Cons
  • Classic glassworking book
  • Great for beginner glassworkers
  • Valuable concepts
  • Great reference book
  • Helpful drawings and illustrations
  • Some topics may be outdated, but core lessons still apply
  • The book is out-of-print, so some copies available may be expensive to purchase

7) A Glassblower’s Companion: A Compilation of Studio Equipment Designs, Essays, & Glassblowing Ideas

No products found.

Recommended for: Beginner-Intermediate Glassblowers

A Glassblower’s Companion by Dudley F. Giberson is a great book for glassworkers and people interested in the general theory behind glassworking principles. This majority of this book also focuses on the equipment needed to carry out glassworking projects as well as properly maintaining the equipment.

The intended audience of the book are glassworkers who would like to build their own glassworking studio and be able to conduct maintenance on their equipment. This is not a very technical book on glassworking, but a very practical guide for setting up your own studio.

Beginner to intermediate glassworkers would benefit the most from the information found in this book.

Pros Cons
  • Great for beginner and intermediate glassblowers
  • Serves as a great reference for potential glassworking projects
  • In-depth list of glassworking
  • Not a lot of technical information

8) Advanced Glassworking Techniques: An Enlightened

Advanced Glassworking Techniques: An Enlightened Manuscript
  • 320 pages
  • Covers basics, tools, color, Venetian-style techniques, solidworking, moldblowing and other special...
  • Hand-illustrated text

Recommended for: Beginner-Intermediate Glassblowers

Advanced Glassworking Techniques is another great glassblowing book by Edward T. Schmid. This book targets a more advanced glassworking audience. This book, like the one previously listed, is also completely hand-written and hand-illustrated for print, giving the book a unique overall style.

The information covered in the text still includes basic information about glassblowing, but it also adds onto them by discussing special techniques. These techniques include Venetian-style glassblowing techniques, moldblowing, and solidworking. The author does a great job of simplifying the concepts and getting his message across in a clear and casual tone that is engaging for readers.

Overall, this book could be a great reference book for many glassworkers.

Pros Cons
  • Great for advanced glassblowers
  • Discusses special glassblowing techniques
  • Handwritten text and illustrations add a unique personality to the book design
  • Casual tone
  • Great reference book
  • Font size varies because it is handwritten

9) Laboratory Scientific Glassblowing: A Practical Training Method

Laboratory Scientific Glassblowing: A Practical Training Method
  • Hardcover Book
  • PINNET, PAUL LE (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Recommended for: Intermediate-Advanced Glassblowers

Laboratory Scientific Glassblowing by Paul Le Pinnet is a very technically-focused glassblowing book for beginner to advanced glassblowers and even lampworkers.

The information contained in the text has been curated by the contribution of a variety of scientists and expert glassworkers with vast experience in the glassblowing craft. The main author actually has over 50 years of experience in glassworking. The text elevates the concepts and glassworking methods that were introduced in the past to the 21st century.

This can be observed in the discussion of new technologies and skills that are more suitable for modern-day applications and art. Although the text can be very technical, it describes projects with a hands-on approach. This feature allows readers to follow the text step-by-step while working on a particular project in a safe and practical manner.

Pros Cons
  • Technical book
  • Information contributed by credible experts in glass and the glassworking field
  • Step-by-step descriptions
  • Great for glassworkers of all levels, especially those who appreciate technical details
  • Great for teaching and learning
  • The text may be too technical for someone who just wants a simple introduction into the glassworking craft

10) Life on the Rails: Intermediate Glassblowing Techniques

Life on the Rails: Intermediate Glassblowing Techniques (Volume 1)
  • Ciezki, Steven (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 296 Pages - 04/28/2017 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

Recommended for: Intermediate-Advanced Glassblowers

Life on the Rails by Steven Ciezki is a great supplement to a hot shop class. The concepts presented in the book are easy to understand and follow. The text is accompanied by detailed pictures and helpful descriptions of the steps in the glassworking process.

The furnace glass techniques explained in the text are another valuable aspect of this book. There is a troubleshooting section that can help glassblowers of all skill levels improve their problem-solving skills and elevate their understanding of the craft. This book particularly focuses on building upon the foundation of beginner to intermediate glassblowers.

The illustrations found within the text are clear and expand upon the useful descriptions that accompany them. This book is a great reference book for many glassblowers.

Pros Cons
  • Breadth and depth of glassblowing information
  • Expert author
  • Special furnace glass techniques discusses
  • Appropriate for those who understand the basics of
  • Not intended for people who do not know anything about the craft yet

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