When the blob has reached a diameter of about six inches, it has already been handled by two or three blowers, who multitask like chefs. The men work in shorts and sandals, protected from the heat only by a makeshift cloth cover on one arm. After these ages-old steps, the Glo-Ball’s most technological moment arrives, but the importance of craft is never eclipsed. “We have 12 glassblowers here,” says Pellizzon, “but only two of them can do this part. It’s difficult—–you have to know exactly how much to exhale and when to stop.”
Beneath the warehouse floor is a pit in which cold mist sprays directly onto a perforated-steel mold that opens and closes mechanically; when open, the concave inner surface can be seen, covered in charcoal powder. “Otherwise,” Pellizzon explains, “the glass comes out like orange peel.” The glass is lowered into the mold as it swings shut. The craftsman blows and spins the pole, passing it to a coworker when he tires. Meanwhile, the water cools the conductive metal; after 40 seconds the mold opens and they lift out the formed globe.
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