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Article: Glass

Summary

This article covers the following jobs:

  • Craft Designer
  • Glass Designer
  • Glass Technologist
  • Glassmaker.

The job descriptions are only a brief summary. It is recommended that you do further research on jobs that interest you.

Video: - Various: Textiles, Ceramics and Glass

Introduction

Work with glass can cover a range of tasks, including:

  • carrying out research into new uses for glass materials
  • developing ideas for designs
  • making the final product either by hand or by using machines.

The ability to create attractive, functional and saleable products is required. For some jobs, a high level of technical understanding is needed. For example, it may be necessary to know production capabilities and properties of materials. Practical skills are required to use tools and equipment to make products.

Some of the different careers in this area

Glass Designer

Glass designers work in three main areas: studio glass, architectural glass and stained glass.

In all forms of glass work, glass designers develop ideas and make decisions about which materials to use and how the product should be produced. They aim to design functional, reliable, cost-effective products for manufacture.

Studio glass work involves the design and production of glassware items on a small or medium scale. Traditional techniques such as blowing, casting and engraving are used.

Most stained glass designers are employed on renovation projects, or decorative design for new or existing buildings.

Architectural glass is manufactured using mass production methods. This includes the design and manufacture of products such as windows, lighting and architectural panels.

To become a glass designer you should take a formal training course that includes elements of glass design. These include courses in craft glass making, available at some colleges, and HNDs or degrees that cover glass design.

Glassmaker

Glassmakers work in two main areas, industry and craft. In industrial glassmaking, technological techniques and equipment are used for mass production. However, in the craft area, a lot of the work is done by hand.

Glassmaking can be separated into various categories. For example, some sectors produce flat glass for doors and windows, others produce glass fibre which is used for insulation and telecommunications. Both flat glass and glass fibre are mainly mass-produced using sophisticated equipment.

Crystalware, such as wine glasses and gifts, plus optical work for laboratory equipment and spectacle makers, can be mass-produced or manufactured by craftspeople. Making glass by hand includes tasks such as blowing and shaping.

Although formal qualifications are not always needed, some employers might ask for GCSEs (or equivalent) or, in some cases, A levels (or equivalent). Employers may ask for a good general education, knowledge of science and practical ability.

Some people enter this career via an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.

Glass Technologist

Glass technologists are experts in the process of making glass and glass products. Most technologists are laboratory-based and work in research and development.

Projects may include developing composite materials (combining glass with other materials) or developing new production techniques.

Some glass technologists explore new uses for glass materials, such as the use of special glass to deal with toxic and nuclear waste disposal.

Other opportunities for technologists are in production management, quality control, and technical sales and marketing.

Entry to this profession is usually after a degree in a relevant subject.

It is sometimes possible to enter this career after A levels or equivalent qualifications.

Craft Designer

Craft designers create designs for a range of two- and three-dimensional objects. Most specialise in a particular area such as ceramics, wood, metalwork/jewellery and glass.

Some designers produce designs for large-scale production by manufacturers, while others work as designer-craftworkers producing designs on a small scale.

In large-scale production, designers work to a brief, which outlines the type of product required and how much money is available for production. Designers then research all aspects of the product and produce designs, including technical details. Once designs are accepted, they can be produced.

Designer-craftworkers are responsible for the whole design process, from creating original designs to making, and usually selling, the craft products. They may have to work to a brief to meet a customer's requirements.

There are no set entry routes into craft design. However, most people take courses up to HND or degree level.

Further Information

Proskills UK

Skills for process and manufacturing industries

Address: Centurion Court, 85b Park Drive, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 4RY

Tel: 01235 833844

Email: info@proskills.co.uk

Website: www.proskills.co.uk

Prospect4u

Careers in manufacturing

Website: www.prospect4u.co.uk

Heart of England Glass

Website: heartofenglandglass.co.uk

Glass Training (GTL)

Address: 4 Bridle Stile, Mosborough, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S20 5BR

Tel: 0114 2488874

Email: info@glass-training.co.uk

Website: www.glass-training.co.uk

GQA Qualifications

Address: Unit 1, 12 O'clock Court, Attercliffe Road, Sheffield S4 7WW

Tel: 0114 2720033

Email: info@gqaqualifications.com

Website: www.gqaqualifications.com

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