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Glass sculpture is often revered for its perceived fragility and delicateness. Developed in Ancient Egypt and brought to the forefront by the Romans, glass sculpture was taken to its highest levels as a valued decorative art at the turn of the 19th century when ateliers such as Tiffany and Steuben Glass Works created stunning glass art as never seen before. At this time, Art Nouveau artists such as René Lelique and Émile Gallé also began to make use of glass in their works.
In the development of glass sculpture, a variety of techniques have been used and perfected over the centuries. In modern glass studios, the ancient technique of glass blowing is still prominent. With this approach, the glassblower uses metal rods and other hand tools to blow and shape molten glass at a furnace, allowing the artist to be improvisational. Cast glass, a technique usually reserved for large scale sculptures, requires the artist to make a mold out of refractory, plaster, or sand and silica which is then filled with glass. Flame-work glass uses torches and kilns to shape their work, allowing for a great level of detail.
In the 19th century, cameo glass was revived for the first time since the Romans
Glass blowing techniques were once highly coveted and secretive; it was not uncommon for glassblowers to be held hostage for fear of their knowledge leaking
Having notable movements throughout many regions of the world including Australia, Japan, Belgium, and the Netherlands