Tool Tuesday: the box

“Don’t love it ‘til it’s in the box. Well, actually, out of the box.”

This is something that you learn very early in glass blowing. “The box” is the annealer. Any piece you create needs to make it safely into, and then out of, the annealer. Once inside the box, your piece of glass is slowly and incrementally brought down to room temperature to relieve internal (invisible to the naked eye) stresses within the glass.

A typical annealing cycle at our studio begins at 890 degrees and comes down to 200 degrees over a period of at least 12 hours–making its way to room temperature from there. The thicker your glass, the longer the annealing cycle. This one took a year to anneal.  And if it’s not annealed properly? Your piece will shatter or crack at some point in its lifespan.

Why can’t you love it until it’s out of the box? Well, lots of things can go wrong along the way as you’re making something.

Things can also go wrong in the annealer–from gremlins in the electrical system messing up the cooling cycle to something falling over and breaking. So, it’s best not to get too attached too soon.