"Free Blown" vs "Mold Blown" Are They Really Hand Blown?

It may surprise you to learn that both of these terms are also properly called by the term “hand blown”.   Both of these are blown by the glassmaker one ornament at a time. 

A skillful glassblower is able to make a sphere and other shapes by turning the ornament as it is blown, pulling it into a shape, etc. This results in a free blown ornament. 

Free Blown Italian Glass Ornament
Free Blown Italian Glass Ornament

Each piece of this ornament is blown without a mold and then the pieces attached (annealed). The artist here works without a mold and uses their skill to blow each piece separately. While the glass is still hot, the glassmaker attaches or “anneals” them onto the base piece.

Skillful glassblowers also use molds to produce the finely and uniquely shaped ornaments that we love so much.  The mold is carved into two pieces with a space for the tube at one end. These are fastened together and the glassblower inserts the glass and his pipette.  The result is an ornament that conforms to the shape of the mold with a long “pike”, ready for finishing.

 Mold Blown Glass Ornament, Germany
This photo shows the typical “line” which occurs on mold blown ornaments.  The mold is carved in two halves that are put together for the glassblower to insert his pipette.  This results in a slight “line” where the two mold halves come together.  On this photo it is a horizontal line that goes the length of the pinecone near the top of the photo.

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