John Almaguer works with glass as people watch. (John Almaguer)

John Almaguer works with glass as people watch. (John Almaguer)

John Almaguer poses with some of his glass art. (John Almaguer)

John Almaguer poses with some of his glass art. (John Almaguer)

Livio Serena, right, taught John Almaguer in Murano, Italy. (John Almaguer)

Livio Serena, right, taught John Almaguer in Murano, Italy. (John Almaguer)

John Almaguer heats glass in a furnace. (John Almaguer)

John Almaguer heats glass in a furnace. (John Almaguer)

This piece by John Almaguer is titled Divine Covenant. (John Almaguer)

This piece by John Almaguer is titled Divine Covenant. (John Almaguer)

The Art of Glassblowing

Posted: January 1, 2022

John Almaguer was a kid when he saw first saw blown glass. It was smooth, wildly shaped, and colorful. He thought to himself, “I just have to try that!” In college, Mr. Almaguer took his first glassblowing class.

Livio Serena was Mr. Almaguer’s teacher. Mr. Serena was from Murano, Italy. That’s where some of the best glassblowers in the world live. But the craft didn’t start out there. Glassblowers’ first workshops were in nearby Venice, Italy.

In 1291, all glassblowers had to move their studios out of Venice and onto to the island of Murano. Some people say that the artists had to move because the authorities thought their furnaces could burn down Venice’s wooden buildings. But many people believe that the move to Murano was to keep glassblowing secrets safe.

Generation after generation of glassblowers passed down the art’s secrets. People learned how to blow and shape glass by watching others do it. Most often, the tradition passed on through family members.

Good things should move on from generation to generation. Deuteronomy 6:7 talks about passing on God’s promises and commandments. “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise,” it says.

Mr. Almaguer’s teachers taught him how to use three important pieces of glassblowing equipment: the furnace, the glory hole, and the annealer. Glassblowers keep hot-as-lava liquid glass inside a furnace. A glassblower reheats the glass inside the glory hole. (It’s hotter there than inside the furnace.) The annealer is where the glass is placed to cool down. Its temperature will slowly drop from 1,200 degrees to 100 degrees. (If it drops too quickly, the new glass piece will crack.)

Today, Mr. Almaguer has his own glassblowing studio in North Carolina. The titles he gave two of his favorite pieces give glory to God, the Master Artist. The first is called Divine Covenant. The other is titled One.