Relax With This Oscar-Winning Short About Glassblowing

Rebecca OConnell

Glassblowing is an old and intricate craft that can take years to master. Since it isn't exactly something you can learn in high school art class, many people are ignorant about the somewhat mysterious process. In 1958, filmmaker Bert Haanstra took a look into the world of glassblowing with a wonderful 10-minute short called Glas. The movie wordlessly follows several men as they create pristine works of art. The artists seem to have no trouble working with the molten glass, and often blow through a blowpipe with a pipe or cigarette still in their mouths. The footage is set to jazz music, which, as Hyperallergic points out, makes the blowers almost seem like horn players. 

Occasionally the movie will cut to a more mechanical method for creating glass structures, like bottles being made on a conveyor belt. While the glassblowers move with an elegant fluidness, the factory bottles drone on with a strict rigidness (which eventually gets interrupted by a jam, leading to some broken bottles).

The relaxing short won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short in 1959, the year after it came out. You can watch it on Vimeo courtesy of Aeon, which has an interesting collection of videos on culture and design. 

[h/t Hyperallergic]

Primary image courtesy of YouTube.