A glassmaker is a skilled craftsperson who makes glass. There are many different jobs for a glassmaker, from working in industrial settings to creating beautiful glass beads or decorative pieces as a hobby. A glassmaker may be involved in any part of the manufacturing process of glass.
There are many different skills that a glassmaker may use; some glassmakers may be trained in only a few specific techniques, while other may have a whole range of skills in their repetoire. Each job may require a different combination of abilities and skills. Some of the basic categories include actually making glass through the process of combining certain silicates and other materials,shaping glass through procedures such as glassblowing, and refining glass by grinding, etching, or engraving.
Many different types of manufactured goods include glass parts. Anything from telescope optics to car windshields may require the skill and ability of a glassmaker. Some of the jobs that a glassmaker might have in an industrial setting include creating the right mix of materials for a certain type of glass, crafting the piece or overseeing glass-manufacturing machines, and quality testing the finished product to make sure it has the correct composition and strength. Industrial glassmaking is often a labor intensive profession that takes extensive training in the workplace.
Glassmaking on a smaller scale is often referred to as craft glassmaking. Training for jobs in craft glassmaking can be done through apprenticeships or through a degree course at a college, university, or trade school. Training may take several years of theoretical and practical study, and may involve continued education to improve or refine skills.
Professional craft glassmaking usually involves the production of glass goods, but on a smaller scale than industrial glass work. Artistic, small batch, and one-of-a-kind goods are often produced by craft glassmakers. Stained glass windows, handmade stemware or vases, and hand-blown products are common products in this field. Artisans may work for a studio or small glassmaking label, or may open their own business selling specialty glass products.
Some glassmakers choose to pursue the craft as a hobby, rather than a career. Training options for hobbyist glassmaking may be more diverse, with many artisans taking classes through community programs or self-teaching with books and instructional guides. Hobbyist glassmakers have the unique ability to create one-of-a-kind items for friends, family, and their own homes. Glass animals, beautiful beads, stained glass, and delicate glass crystals may all be the product of an amateur glassmaker.