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Amazing Liquid of Antiquity

Updated on September 29, 2012

A modern servant in a thousand forms.

What liquid may be used for art, engineering and architecture? What is this liquid that is so widely used in the transportation industry, visual industry and yet is also used in hospitals and homes? We are surrounded by it, it is surpassed by few other materials, it is the liquid of antiquity - glass.

Yes, glass is liquid in its molten state. When formed from a white-hot mixture of molten ingredients its atoms and molecules retain the random pattern of a liquid even though it becomes as rigid as ordinary solids.

Nature makes its own glass. The heat, when lightning strikes the silica sand on a beach, forms natural glass called fugurite. Fulgurites do not create glass, the kind you can drink out of, as they are not of the right strength and are not exactly glass, but are a glass-like substance.

Volcanic heat from the earth's core melts silica sand and produces what is called obsidian.

Glass is a unique substance in that it doesn't produce crystals when it cools. Instead it becomes viscose like toffee. This inherent quality allows glass to be blown, pulled, twisted and shaped making glass one of our most versatile and valuable servants.

Photo Credit

Ancient Murano Glass - Beads

Murano Glass
Murano Glass

Photo Credit

Glassmaking is one of the most ancient industries. Venice was "the only glassmaking centre capable of providing 'works of art' in blown glass, in Europe during the 13th and 14th centuries," says the book Glass in Murano.

These Venetian products were exported from the eastern Mediterranean to Northern Europe. It is reported that in 1399, King Richard II of England allowed two Venetian galleys moored in the port of London to sell glassware and also that the French nobility possessed Venetian glass. Today Murano is well known for their mirrors, chandeliers, gold and enamel decorations,fine figurines, crystal, imitation gemstones, and many other objects with intricate patterns.

Our Modern Glass

Glass Sculpture - Kewgardens
Glass Sculpture - Kewgardens

Public Domain

Glass is not only ancient but also very modern. After centuries of use, man recognises that in the future there will be ever so many more uses for glass that haven't even been explored yet. In fact, it was not until 1903 that a glass bottle was produced entirely by automation but since then increased knowledge and better means to utilize this amazing liquid have allowed mass production to transform glass from a treasured luxury to a servant in myriads of forms.

I recently read about glass research being performed that may soon help the visually impaired much better than the glasses now available for them.

Heated to 2,800 degrees - That's Hot!

2500 degrees F. furnace where crushed bottles are made into molten glass.
2500 degrees F. furnace where crushed bottles are made into molten glass.

Photo Credit

The basic ingredients of glass is still the same as it has been for thousands of years. Silica sand, lime and soda still make about 90 percent of the world's glass. Today giant furnaces can hold a batch of more than 1,000 tons of molten glass. The furnace must be heated to about 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit! Now, that's Hot!

Automation - In seconds .. a batch

Bottles at Coors Brewery
Bottles at Coors Brewery

Photo Credit

Beautiful Venetian glassware did much to enhance the popularity of glass, but glassmaking was by no means an easy task. The book A Short History of Glass refers to a publication of 1713 that describes what it was like. "The men stand continually half-naked in freezing winter weather near very hot furnaces . . . They shrivel because their nature and substance . . . is burnt up and destroyed by the excessive heat." In later years glass cutters polished glass using a rotating wheel and abrasive powders.

Now when bottles are being made, blobs of glass fall from the furnace into "blank molds" fast! A plunger forces the glass into the shape of the initial mold and the glass is then transferred to a "finishing mold" where compressed air blows it into the final shape. Metal jaws swing open, and out comes the container, still glowing red, about six seconds since the glass left the furnace!

Window Glass - Float Glass & History of Window Glass

Use of Float Glass - Crystal Palace Station
Use of Float Glass - Crystal Palace Station

Photo Credit

Float glass is a sheet of glass made by floating molten glass on a bed of molten metal, typically tin, although lead and various low melting point alloys were used in the past. This method gives the sheet uniform thickness and very flat surfaces. Modern windows are made from float glass. Most float glass is soda-lime glass, but relatively minor quantities of specialty borosilicate[1] and flat panel display glass are also produced using the float glass process.[2] The float glass process is also known as the Pilkington process, named after the British glass manufacturer Pilkington, which pioneered

Article from: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Modern Glass uses

Artistic and historic techniques

Beadmaking · Blowing · Blown plate · Broad sheet · Caneworking · Crown glass · Cylinder blown sheet · Engraving · Etching · Fourcault process ·

Fusing · Lampworking · Machine drawn cylinder sheet · Millefiori · Polished plate · Slumping · Stained glass fusing · Stained glass production

Glass Art by Dale Chihuly - American glass sculptor and entrepreneur.

Find out more about this glass artist. Dale Chihuly

Blown Glass

Blown Glass Ball
Blown Glass Ball

GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 Wikipedia

Have you ever had the chance to watch a glassblower? I must say, I am addicted to blown glass and every chance I get I watch the glassblowers for as long as I can.

My husband and I had a chance to watch glassblowers in Orlando, Florida. We had rented a suite right on the canal. The day was bright and beautiful so we decided to walk along the canal to see what we could discover. We walked up and over a stone bridge (maybe it was brick .. I'll have to have a look at our pictures.) Not far from where we were staying, the glassblowers were practicing their trade in a little shop. I was truly enthralled with the little piggies and rearing horses and other small glass pieces. They were very cute. Besides the small items there were also glass ships in glass bottles, beautiful urns and I just loved the carousel. Using a few simple tools and traditional skills of an ancient craft, these artisans persuaded the liquid into articles of intricacy and beauty beyond the reach of automation. I was in awe!

To me, the blowpipe looked long and clumsy, but to the glassblower it is and important tool.

Glass was gathered on the end of a four foot long blowpipe much like rolling spaghetti on a fork. A puff of breath was cast and trapped in the pipe. As the trapped air moved toward the hot glass it heated up and expanded. When it hit the hot glass it inflated.

The gatherer shaped the hot glass by rolling it on an iron plate called a "marver.

Various workers added their skill to shape the glass, rotating the blowpipe constantly to keep the soft form from sagging out of shape. Swinging the blowpipe elongated the glass; rapid spinning flattened it out. Shaping tools spread an open end in a narrow neck and flattened edges.

Size, shape and thickness depend upon the air blown into the glass, the angle at which the blowpipe is held and the rate at which the glass is allowed to cool. From time to time the glass must be returned to the "glory hole," a reheating furnace, to keep it hot enough to be workable.

Throughout the operation the watchful eye of the shop's master blower was on the operation. As the shop's master blower he handles the more difficult jobs himself, relying upon many years of acquired skill to utilize the fluid, graceful motion of the glass to achieve clean, flowing lines. When he was satisfied with the piece, it was placed in the annealing oven to be gradually cooled.

I found out how to tell if the glass is genuine handmade glass. During the final forming the glass is attached to a long, solid rod called the"pontil." It leaves on some pieces a shallow depression, which is an indication of genuine handmade glass.

I wanted to take some glassware home with us, but since we were travelling by airplane I thought better of it. (I once had a beautiful crystal vase smashed to smithereens during just a short jaunt of an airplane.)

Glass Art - to start your collection.

Here are a few lovely vases but there is a large selection to choose from.

Glass in a thousand forms. - Well a few - I will add more in the future

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The BlowpipeGlass Artist J.P. Canlis Bamboo FramingBlowpipe and "Glory Hole"Murrin Foglio Detail
The Blowpipe
The Blowpipe
Glass Artist J.P. Canlis Bamboo Framing
Glass Artist J.P. Canlis Bamboo Framing
Blowpipe and "Glory Hole"
Blowpipe and "Glory Hole"
Murrin Foglio Detail
Murrin Foglio Detail

Credits for the above photos.

* The Blowpipe Photo Credit

* Glass Artist J.P. Canlis Bamboo Framing Photo Credit

* Blowpipe and "Glory Hole" Public Domain Photo by: User:Y6y6y6

* Blown glass utilizing murrine technique. Created by: David Patchen

Over 100,000 formulas developed - for glass

Crystal Bowl
Crystal Bowl

Photo Credit

The new families of fiber glass and glass ceramics appear as richly versatile as their ancient parent! Variations of glass are used as insulators for electrical circuits, neon lights and precision optical lenses. Pure silica glass makes mirrors for satellite telescopes and laser-beam reflectors. Special glass serves as space vehicles windows.

Other special formulas produce colored glass panels, building blocks and insulation to decorate and protect modern buildings. Tempered and chemically toughened glasses add to your safety. (Colored glass protects your eyes.)

Indeed, this amazing liquid of antiquity is your modern servant in a thousand forms, asking in return only an occasional cleaning that its brilliance might continue to shine bright.

Modern Glass use

This lens won the coveted Purple Star Award

Thank you to everyone who made this possible.

The Purple Star Program!

According to the Purple Star Program, purple stars are awarded to Lenses that are:

* Masterpiece lenses.

* Lenses making a name for themselves.

* Lenses trying new things.

What an honour!

Thank you!

~LaraineRose

I hope that you have enjoyed this lens.

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If you want to make a lens ..

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If you are interested in how to publish a page like this, it is really quite easy. Just Click Here to begin...open a free account and start your own "lens" here on squidoo on a topic of your choice.

A Roman Diatret Glass at Wikipedia .. Artist - Unknown



I have enjoyed researching this ancient/modern industry. I believe that glass is nothing short of miraculous. I hope that you have found this lens enjoyable, but if not enjoyable, at least informative.

I will be pleased if you will leave a comment.

Thank you,

LaraineRose

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    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @EbooksFreeWeekl1: Glass that forms when lightning hits sand, as in the film, is called fulgurite and is not strong enough to make glass as we know it but I really enjoyed the film!

      Thank you for your visit and comment.

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @lesliesinclair: Thank you for your visit, squidlike and comment. I appreciate it.

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @Mark Shirbroun: Thank you, Mark. I appreciate your visit!

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @tvyps: I love it too! Thank you for visiting and blessing this lens.

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @mariaamoroso: We could have used your son's expertise. We've been renovating and windows were on the list. Thank you for visiting, my friend.

    • EbooksFreeWeekl1 profile image

      EbooksFreeWeekl1 5 years ago

      Amazing work with glass. I'm wondering if it's true about the product sand makes when it is struck by lightning. I saw Sweet Home Alabama, and one of the actors opened a glass works shop from it. Nice lens!

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 5 years ago

      Nice little encapsulation of the history of glass in pretty blue letters.

    • Mark Shirbroun profile image

      Mark Shirbroun 5 years ago

      Great lens!The intro was top-notch! Thanks for creating it.

    • tvyps profile image

      Teri Villars 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I love art glass, I find it very aesthetically appealing. Blessed!

    • mariaamoroso profile image

      irenemaria 5 years ago from Sweden

      WOW. My son is a glass master. Mainly windows and doors though. This lens is really beautiful. I will show it to him!

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @Tonto Murray: How interesting! It is such an art. I wish I could have learned how to do this. Thank you for viewing this lens and for the blessing!

    • Tonto Murray profile image

      Tonto Murray 5 years ago

      Outstanding unique lens. I had a great grandfather that was a glass blower. I never met him but my grandmother told me all about it. Blessings

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @RuralFloridaLiving: Thank you for stopping by... Appreciate the visit.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 5 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      very cool page about glass.

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @ncdf001: I am happy to see you here. Cheers!

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @akunsquidoku: Thank you!

    • profile image

      ncdf001 5 years ago

      I'm not into archaeology or anything like it. I do love the beauty of the minerals and just stop by for an easy and interesting read!

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      akunsquidoku 5 years ago

      wow... so unique ..:D

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @sudokunut: It is beautiful and such a lot of work went into that!

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @kathysart: Thank you Kathy!

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @GaelicForge: Amen!

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @SueMarchant: I appreciate your visit. I'll try to visit you soon.

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @anonymous: Thank you for visiting!

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @RuralFloridaLiving: I'm so happy that you enjoyed the lens. Thank you for visiting me here.

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @Heather426: I'm very happy you visited and thank you for the blessing!

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @GetFactsnotHype: Thank you! I will be visiting you soon.

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @Rosaquid: Thank you for visiting!

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      getmoreinfo 5 years ago

      This is such an informative, lens I really learned some new things about liquid and glass.

    • sudokunut profile image

      Mark Falco 5 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      Very interesting lens...and wow, that glass tree at Kew gardens sure is something to behold.

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 5 years ago

      I have always been fascinated by glass blowers... not enough to actually do it though..lol, but oh it looks interesting to do. I loved visiting this lens, very informative and artistic. :)) Angel blessed!

    • GaelicForge profile image

      GaelicForge 5 years ago

      Working glass is a constant motion, a dance with the elements of creation.

    • SueMarchant profile image

      SueMarchant 5 years ago

      Like this a lot! A very informative lens and very beautifully styled. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @KittySmith: yeah

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @KittySmith: you did?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @JZinoBodyArt: yeah your picture look like you are evil but its not true is it

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @LaraineRoses: what?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @getmoreinfo: so did i

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @GetFactsnotHype: yes very

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @Heather426: yes very cool

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @RuralFloridaLiving: yeah

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      i love thing its so pretty and beautiful i like the features

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      RuralFloridaLiving 5 years ago

      Beautiful work here! Very informative. I enjoyed reading your work.

    • GetFactsnotHype profile image

      GetFactsnotHype 5 years ago

      What a fantastic page !

    • Rosaquid profile image

      Rosaquid 5 years ago

      Fascinating subject well treated. Thanks!

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @getmoreinfo: Thank you! I'm happy that you visited. I'll be visiting you soon.

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @JZinoBodyArt: Thank you!

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @KittySmith: I have a sister-in-law that makes glass beads too. I love them!

      Thank you for your visit .. I'll be visiting you soon.

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @KittySmith: Thank you .. that was my intent.

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @MohkaUK LM: Hopefully you got to the windows before the rain got too heavy--but if you didn't, there's no going back now. Your only option is to do your best to dry the carpet and keep it from smelling. The quicker you start the better. :}

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @StationNord: Thank you! I appreciate your visit!

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      JZinoBodyArt 5 years ago

      Great lens!

    • KittySmith profile image

      KittySmith 5 years ago

      @KittySmith: I forgot to mention, that is a GREAT title, definitely draws one in to find out what this liquid could be!

    • KittySmith profile image

      KittySmith 5 years ago

      I have made hot glass beads, I love the medium. I also loved your lens!

    • MohkaUK LM profile image

      MohkaUK LM 5 years ago

      What happens when my windows run into the carpet??

    • profile image

      StationNord 5 years ago

      Jolly impressive illustrations! Nice Lens!

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @Lindrus: Thank you!

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @robertzimmerman2: Thank you, Robert. I'm happy that you like it!

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      Lindrus 5 years ago

      Very nice and informative lens! Well done!

    • robertzimmerman2 profile image

      Robert Zimmerman 5 years ago from SE Florida, USA

      Nice job, very informative!

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @SayGuddaycom: So happy you visited and enjoyed this lens!

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @MillBucks: You are welcome! Thank you for visiting my lens.

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @wedpittsburgh lm: Thank you. I'll be by to see your lenses soon.

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @victoriuh: So happy that you enjoyed it. Thank you for blessing this lens!!

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @fullofshoes: Thank you, I'll be by for a visit soon.

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @anonymous: Why thank you, Jack. I appreciate your saying so. Thank you also for the blessing!

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @Natural_Skin_Care: Amen!

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @ItayaLightbourne: Yes, that is where Dale Chihuly has most of his work. A wonderful glass artist! Thank you for your visit and comments.

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @floppypoppygift1: Dale Chihuly .. yes I am familiar with his work. I have never watched him work but I know that his work is in the Tacoma Art Museum, right?

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @anonymous: Thank you, Tipi!!!

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @JohnTannahill: There is another factory that I must visit. I find the making of glass so very interesting! Thank you for your visit!

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @aesta1: I love Murano glass! So many beautiful pieces! You were fortunate to have been able to visit the factory! Thank you for your visit.

    • SayGuddaycom profile image

      SayGuddaycom 5 years ago

      Very informative and enjoyable read.

    • MillBucks profile image

      MillBucks 5 years ago

      Wow, this amazing! I never knew how glass was formed in so many shapes and sizes, very fascinating lens. Thanks for the enlightenment.

    • wedpittsburgh lm profile image

      wedpittsburgh lm 5 years ago

      Love this lens. Excellent Job!

    • victoriuh profile image

      victoriuh 5 years ago

      Your title drew me in! This is an excellent article. Blessed!

    • profile image

      fullofshoes 5 years ago

      Great article... I love everything and anything to do with glass. Really nicely done! ~blessed~

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very informative and easy and engaging to read. Job well done - blessed.

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      Natural_Skin_Care 5 years ago

      Chihuly made me fall in love with glass too. It's amazing stuff in the right hands.

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      Was able to go to the Chihuly Glass Museum in WA state a few years ago and it was so beautiful. Blessings for this wonderful article. :)

    • floppypoppygift1 profile image

      floppypoppygift1 5 years ago

      Cool lens-you know so much! I love Dale Chululy (sp?). His artwork is to die for! Cheers~cb

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I was just here but had to return to congratulate you on front page honors!

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      John Tannahill 5 years ago from Somewhere in England

      Excellent work. I visited the Pilkington factory near Wigan once. I was amazed. I think it was near Wigan, or St Helen's - somewhere like that.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I read once about glass making in Murano and visited the place. It was fascinating how well guarded this secret was at that time that people in the island were not allowed to the mainland at all. You have made this more interesting in your lens.

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @anonymous: Thank you Tipi for your words of appreciation!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Laraine, you have created another masterpiece in every way from your brilliant title to the guest book and everything in between. I can tell your research was extensive and you shared the cream with us here for sure. I had never heard glass called "the liquid of antiquity", so you had me fascinated from the start with that. I'm with you in thinking that glass is nothing short of miraculous and I wonder what those first happy accidents were in bringing it to us in so many forms from utilitarian to functional to just plain beautiful....and sometimes all three in one! Delightfully blessed!

    • LaraineRoses profile image
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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @WillBorden: Thank you, Will. You are a great support to me and my work and I appreciate it!

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      WillBorden 5 years ago

      Hi Laraine,

      Your lenses are beautifully researched and this is no exception! Very interesting information about the wonders of glass, it's history and how it plays a huge role in our daily lives! Fine work, as always!!

      Will