In many ways our glassblowing venture has been built off of donations. Our first investor ended up donating the money to the cause, helping us with the purchase and transport of much of our equipment. We've had a few other donations from other sources that helped make getting started actually possible. Now I've been blowing glass for about three months active time and I've honestly been doing it with the bare bones.
I've not got much for tools, but I've got a lot of tools on the way here, so wait for that! I was using the cheapest glasses we could find on Amazon in the US, which ended up being rose colored dydimium glasses, barely suitable for working clear borosilicate glass. Not only were the glasses terrible quality, they just weren't what I needed long term.
A few weeks ago John was looking for all sorts of things glassblowing related on Amazon Mexico and he found the glasses featured in this article, which are shade 3 and shade 5 dydinmium glasses for only 15 dollars or 300 pesos mexican. What that means is they're dark enough to provide protection from the bright flares that can come from working colored glass like black, blue or white. I noticed an immediate difference, as I used to have to squint in my other glasses while working blue. With these there's no eye strain, although adjusting to everything being green was a bit tough at first.
I'm going to back it up here because most of you don't blow glass, so you don't understand what any of this stuff means. What is dydimium? It's defined as "a mixture containing the rare earth elements praseodymium and neodymium, used to color glass for optical filters, originally regarded as a single element". Glassblowers use glasses with this type of glass to protect their eyes from the bright flares that come off glass when it's in the flame, referred to as a sodium flare.
Anyone that's watched a glassblower with a torch without glasses knows there's a big bright orange flame type light that makes it hard to see what's going on, and it kind of hurts to look at. Before these glasses, blindness was common among lampworkers after many years. They can be tinted various colors, what's important is honestly how dark they are, referred to as shade number, whatever. I got shade number 3 and 5, which is going to be more than adequate for the glass I work.
We got in contact with a friend coming to town soon and he mentioned he wanted to send us a little money. We sent him the links to these glasses instead and asked him to just donate those and he agreed. Within a week or so I had them in my hands and I've used them on and off since with great results.
There's definately an adjustment period. I got used to paying attention to when the glass turned a certain color in the flame, which obviously changed with green lenses. Fuming looks completely different. Colors are a big harder to tell what they are because of the green, so more foreplanning on my color combinations is needed, which is fine. And when I take them off I see purple for about thirty seconds, meaning that everything has a purplish tint to it. I find the opposite effect happens after visual exposure to a high powered LED grow light, which emits bright purple light.
All in all, not fucking bad for 15 bucks when the cheapest I could find for 45 was crappy and inferior. These are not only safer but more comfortable, they're adjustable so they fit my tiny head. I'm pleased despite how cheap they are. They won't last forever, but they're better than the crappier more expensive alternative.
Coming soon, an article on my new glass shipment, which was awesome.
Thanks for reading!