Mold Blowing

A detailed look at the art of glassblowing, where hands skillfully shape a glowing molten glass piece with tongs over a wooden mold, the intensity of the craft evident in the focused glow and contrasting workshop environment

Every Dougherty Glassworks glass is made by hand in a multi-step process that involves glass, steel, wood and fire. The creation process blends centuries-old mold-making techniques with modern technology.

A lush canopy of cherry blossom trees in full bloom, creating a vibrant tapestry of pink petals against a bright spring sky, encapsulating the beauty of cherry blossom season in a tranquil park setting.



First let’s look at the mold. Vancouver’s beautiful cherry trees are world-famous for their display of color every spring. These cherished trees are so sweet, in fact, that the wood is full of sugars. This makes cherry wood the finest choice for making the molds used for hand-blown glass. The wood for my molds was salvaged in Vancouver by my wife, who is an arborist.



A 3D modeling workspace showing a vase-like object enclosed within a wireframe editing box. Yellow control points and lines indicate the object is in the process of being digitally sculpted or adjusted, against the backdrop of a grid that suggests a software environment for graphic design.



I begin creating each glass using digital 3D modeling software. Once the design is finished, I send it to a CNC machine that cuts two identical halves of the mold into the wet cherry wood. I then add a hinge and handles to complete the mold, and store it underwater to maximize heat resistance and prevent cracking.


Close-up of a glassblower in concentration, wearing purple safety glasses and a cap, as they shape a glowing, molten glass form with a blowpipe, highlighting the skill and focus required in the glassblowing craft.


To make each glass, we first gather liquid glass from a large furnace onto the end of a stainless steel pipe. We then blow air through the pipe and into the white-hot glass, forming a bubble.


The radiant orange glow of molten glass at the end of a blowpipe, captured in the dark ambiance of a glassblowing studio, showcases the intense heat and malleability during the glass shaping process.

We re-heat the bubble in the glory hole until it is ready to be dripped into the wooden mold. We have our assistant close the mold and we blow into the pipe while spinning it to produce a seamless glass.


A glass artist meticulously shapes a transparent glass object with a torch, focusing the flame on a specific area. The fiery glow accentuates the craftsmanship involved in glasswork against a blurred workshop background.

Once the glass has cooled enough to hold its shape, we remove it from the mold and we impress the Dougherty Glassworks stamp in the base, marking it as uniquely handmade.


Shelves neatly lined with collections of glassware, featuring rows of green and purple tumblers turned upside down on rustic metal stands, presenting a colorful and organized display within a cabinet or pantry.


We then crack the glass off the pipe and put it in a pre-heated kiln for 12 hours of slow cooling (called annealing), after which it’s ready for final shaping and polishing.


A moody and atmospheric photo capturing the essence of a glassblower's workshop, with a tall beer glass overflowing with frothy liquid on the foreground anvil. Glassblowing tools rest alongside, and a wooden mold with a vase silhouette in the dark, glowing background adds to the artisanal vibe


After this process, the glass gets one more 15-hour cycle in the kiln to further strengthen it. It’s now ready to enjoy!