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Entries in glass (4)


redefined: das beer can

photo by: LaModaLisa photo by: cgrutt

The idea of drinking beer from something other than a ceramic stein or glass mug poured from the tap at the local public house or pub, was first considered over 100 years ago in 1909. Like many innovations, the technology existed but it took about 25 years—and the repeal of Prohibition—for the modest beer can to catch on.

In 1933, the first canned ale was tested in Virginia—needless to say, consumers welcomed the change which paved the way for easy-to-transport, easy-to-store, disposable cans. Initially made of steel with a flat top, they required a sharp opener, or church key, to pierce triangular openings—one to drink from, and another on the opposite side which allowed air into the can to improve the pour out.

The evolution to lightweight aluminum was inevitable due to the drawbacks of steel—not only was a lining required to protect the contents, steel is inherently prone to rust and the heavier weight meant transportation costs were higher than necessary.

photo by: Mark photo by: Amara

photo by: mark gallagher photo by: Paul Flannery

Easy-to-use pull tabs replaced the need to keep an opener handy—but they also heralded an increase in emergency room visits as the sharp edges cut fingers and feet or, in worst-case scenarios, drinkers choked on the tab they’d kept safe in the can. Today, wide mouth openings created by attached tabs are the norm—but as small brews flourish, the capped bottle is seeing a revival.

In the meantime, das can reminds us of modest old-school beers—not to mention beer can collections and Oktoberfest which starts this weekend—Zum Wohl!

photo by: Steve Jurvetson


how to: paint glass vases

clear glass vases
glass paint, paint-thinner
disposable bowls—paper, ceramic, foil
plastic utensils
drop cloth or kraft paper

1. Prepare a work area by spreading the drop cloth or kraft paper over a work surface/area.

2. Select a color palette—we found that the darker colors were more successful, more opaque since there is more pigment in the liquid.

3. Pour glass paint into bowls and mix well with a plastic spoon—we also added glass-paint-thinner to make the quantity go farther.

4. Hold the glass vase by the rim and dip it into the bowl of paint.

5. Slowly rotate the vase around the bowl in a fluid movement until it has covered the vase as preferred.

6. Lift the vase and let excess paint drip into the bowl—it make take 5-10 minutes for the paint to stop dripping.

4-6 Alternate process: apply the paint using a paintbrush for a slightly different effect.

7. Carefully hold the vase at an angle equal to the dip-line and blow dry until the paint is semi-dry—about 10 minutes. Hold the hairdryer per the paint instructions—about 8” from the vase. Hint: we found a lower heat setting worked well.

8. Place the vase on a drop cloth or kraft paper so that it dries completely—we used upside down paper bowls.

9. To seal the paint, allow the vases to dry overnight or place them in the oven—follow the instructions on the paint bottle label as they will vary with each manufacturer.


how it's made: brite drinkware

©All rights reserved by Miami Beach Gay Pride Sandra: In April 2012, while developing products for this Spring 2013, Andrea and I visited glass and dinnerware factories and naturally took a walk through their showrooms. After seeing hundreds of glass samples, we found a clear double old-fashioned—forgettable were it not for its stripes.

My thought process was to create a cocktail glass specifically for Pride parties—with the rainbow Pride flag as inspiration. Thankfully Andrea went along with the idea—we didn’t want to transfer the stripes literally, we simply used them as inspiration.

Andrea: The end goal was to create colorful drinkware that would be the star on the table with simple serving/dinnerware pieces—and that could be used for any occasion.

Color placement was hugely important as we discovered through various iterations—especially since the process of hand-painting the glasses naturally varied from the 2-dimensional drawings on paper. And, of course, no matchy-matchy so the brite martini and brite double old-fashioned are different to distinguish variations in the stripe patterns.


material world: clear glass

Transparent or sandblasted, mouth-blown or machine-made, borisilicate or soda…glass. It can take on almost any form imaginable—from purely functional window panes and high performance lab glass to art glass and brilliant crystal chandeliers—the basics don’t do justice to this most versatile material.

Most likely an accidental creation of residue chemicals in an oven, pieces have been discovered in Mesopotamia from 3000BC and Egypt from the late Bronze Age…so much for its delicate nature.

While most transparent glass has a slight green or blue tint—which is caused by iron that acts as a lubricant in the manufacturing process—‘crystal clear’ lead glass is made with lead oxides, instead of calcium, and is usually used for cut stemware or sparkling crystal jewelry. And even though glass has no crystalline structure chemically, the term stuck like qwerty keyboards. Early window panes, photo courtesy of: lady_lbrty

Generally speaking, most commercial glass made today is soda glass—a mix of sodium carbonate from soda ash, calcium oxides from limestone, magnesium and aluminum oxides. Heated to temperatures over 2000°F, glass begins as a thick liquid—with a high viscosity—and takes shape as it cools. Shapes can be made by literally mouth-blowing the glass through a long pipe or by machines and molds. Blown glass can be thick or thin and fine, like lumi candleholders, while machine made glass is usually thicker like bari bowls.

As further testament to its durability, glass has been battling the elements of nature as an architectural material for hundreds of years. Stained glass windows brought drama to Medieval stone cathedrals, and early window panes were actually mouth-blown into a flat shape which can be easily identified by their wavy surface and circular centers. In more recent centuries, and in its simplest ‘float glass’ form, they’re the key element of modern structures—from high-rise skyscrapers to International Style homes.

Farnsworth House, photo courtesy of: tinyfroglet