A brief history of glassblowing, and its art and science in a modern world
After water itself one of the most abundant materials on the planet is sand, which is used nowadays for producing glass blown devices like bongs. Some of the earliest glass materials are those that the Earth itself produced. Like a diamond that is forged by external pressure over thousand of years, obsidian is nature’s glass which is produced in a most dramatic way. Used today in the operating room, this “stone-age” material can measure only 30 angstroms (equivalent to a unit that is one hundred millionth of a centimeter); and when used as a scalpel, its edge can actually rival that of a diamond in its sharpness. It is certainly equal to the task of cutting — when pressed — with the sharpest of any materials that can be produced by any other means today, including those designed and produced by nanotechnology.
Obsidian is another of nature’s miracles, produced through great intensity in the natural world through a lightening strike, the impact of meteorite, or a volcanic eruption. In every case, one of the most stunning aspects of that drama is the vastly excessive temperatures that forges this natural glass. It may be no surprise then, that our ancestors deduced that it would be through fire that mankind could exercise stewardship of the natural world; and doing so through observation. Imitating and replicating natural effects in order to forge new materials.
The elements of the most ingenious creative design has often been guided by the idea that form follows function. Great strides are made in a wide range of fields from architecture to medicine, and the creative imitation of the the structure and function of bodies of men and women as a species is also being revealed through the human genome, and the lessons of nature demonstrate endless possibilities for lives here on Earth, at least, to be enhanced n both the science and the art of living lives of meaning that are continually engaging with the concept of Creativity, both thousands and thousands of years ago in ancient times, and in the here and now, finding new ways to improve upon old traditions.