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Handmade Portraits: Glassblowing With Kiva Ford

Apr 12, 2011

by kivaford

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(Music by Lordx)

Alex_R-author2.jpgWatching glassblower Kiva Ford transform searing, molten glass into a crystalline solid is thrilling to behold. It takes far more dexterity than I ever realized (it should come as no surprise to learn that Kiva was once a professional juggler). Observing the intangible take form allows me a window into a handicraft that straddles art, science and a storied history of apprenticeship.

Aside from Kiva’s pastime of creating miniature distillation vessels and delicately curlicued glass jewelry, he holds a full-time job as a scientific glassblower, whipping up all manner of wild apparati — extractors, reactors, condensers, and custom flasks. The vessels used in chemical research are incapable of mass production; each piece has been meticulously handcrafted for thousands of years.

About the filmmaker: Alex Rappoport is an award-winner director, cinematographer, and editor based in upstate New York. This is his first video for Etsy.

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Watch More Videos at | Explore Etsy’s Glass Category


  • FluffyFlowers

    FluffyFlowers said 9 years ago

    wickedly groovy :)

  • JudiPaintedit

    JudiPaintedit said 9 years ago

    AMAZING!!!!! I wish I knew how to do that considering I paint glass. LOVE IT!!

  • tigersanddragons

    tigersanddragons said 9 years ago

    Wow! I love watching glassblowing, great video. I'm totally enamored of those klein bottle earrings. About ten years ago I met a fellow whose family had been making blown glass christmas ornaments for generations, they didn't like it when he demonstrated his craft, afraid that he would give away their family secrets. Of course he understood that exposing the magic behind the products, only made them more desired when people could see the skill involved.

  • SchneiderGallery

    SchneiderGallery said 9 years ago

    fantatsic! I adore your work!

  • HoneysuckleLane

    HoneysuckleLane said 9 years ago

    Watching glassblowing is fascinating! Thank you so much for sharing your craft with us.

  • TellMeLucille

    TellMeLucille said 9 years ago

    Wow! That's truly amazing!

  • MaLaMiNaKaNo

    MaLaMiNaKaNo said 9 years ago

    Amazing!!!! Absolutely great!!!! Love it....

  • GemmaBeads

    GemmaBeads said 9 years ago

    Absolutely fabulous! Jaw-dropping and intriguing!

  • MegansMenagerie

    MegansMenagerie said 9 years ago

    That is amazing!!! Wow!

  • trashbaggs

    trashbaggs said 9 years ago

    oh I would love to try glass blowing - you have inspired me! thanks for sharing your work!!

  • StrangeVagaries

    StrangeVagaries said 9 years ago

    Always wanted to try it. Corning Glass in NY used to let you try it out...

  • Woolibear

    Woolibear said 9 years ago

    To work on a scale this small is amazing. You are truly skilled and your work is beautiful, thank you for sharing.

  • SeaGlassJournal

    SeaGlassJournal said 9 years ago

    Incredibly delicate and intricate glass work. I always enjoyed watching the glass artisans at the Sandwich Glass Museum on the Cape. Gary

  • stereoette

    stereoette said 9 years ago

    Whoohoo! Exciting to see Kiva featured on here. On top of being an amazing lampworker, he's a super nice guy! Congrats, dude!

  • shtaim

    shtaim said 9 years ago

    Amazing! truely inspiring.

  • mudpuppy

    mudpuppy said 9 years ago

    Oh man, Fascinating and beautiful.

  • creativityismessy

    creativityismessy said 9 years ago

    Such an amazing artist!!

  • jechorydesigns

    jechorydesigns said 9 years ago

    This was beautiful, the glass, the video, and the music.

  • OrangeOptimist

    OrangeOptimist said 9 years ago

    SUPER !!!

  • Myranda62

    Myranda62 said 9 years ago

    This is absolutely intriguing...

  • auntjanecan

    auntjanecan said 9 years ago

    Oh, so interesting and beautiful. Great!

  • ElisaGomez

    ElisaGomez said 9 years ago

    so beautiful!

  • ChristinaRomeo

    ChristinaRomeo said 9 years ago

    You are amazing....I loved the story...a real treat to watch

  • SoliDeoGloriaSDG

    SoliDeoGloriaSDG said 9 years ago

    Wow, what exquisite work! You are an incredible artist!

  • SeaFindDesigns

    SeaFindDesigns said 9 years ago

    One of my ALL time favorite shops!! Truly beautiful art!

  • northcountryglass

    northcountryglass said 9 years ago

    Very cool video. We do hand blown art glass. It's interesting to see that you make scientific glass, something I know nothing about. I really love the miniatures. It's fascinating!

  • phydeauxdesigns

    phydeauxdesigns said 9 years ago

    Such a fascinating peak into a world so foreign to me!

  • KMalinka

    KMalinka said 9 years ago

    Great story! Wonderful shop!

  • ICNaughtyGlass

    ICNaughtyGlass said 9 years ago

    Very cool to see another great glassblower on etsy!!

  • HvZjewelry

    HvZjewelry said 9 years ago

    I wanted to try it one day!

  • HvZjewelry

    HvZjewelry said 9 years ago


  • loliscreations

    loliscreations said 9 years ago

    Loved your interview!!!!!!!!!

  • loliscreations

    loliscreations said 9 years ago

    Loved your interview!!!!!!!!!

  • joyscottglass

    joyscottglass said 9 years ago

    I fuse glass and I'm always fascinated by glass blowing. Thank you for your video.

  • poorjimsvintage

    poorjimsvintage said 9 years ago

    So cool! They'd be perfect for holding essential oils.

  • UrbanRevisions

    UrbanRevisions said 9 years ago

    Thank you Kiva and Etsy for sharing this! Came at a great time for my own glass inspiration, will share this video with lots of others...

  • krixbeeble

    krixbeeble said 9 years ago

    i love your work! it was cool to view an interview w/ the artist behind the beauty. :D

  • amaria

    amaria said 9 years ago

    Amazing! Love what can be done with glass especially the animal series with the animals inside the glass.

  • paramountvintage

    paramountvintage said 9 years ago


  • kaxis

    kaxis said 9 years ago

    How weird! I was browsing his shop a couple weeks ago, oggling all of the lovely bottles. Excellent stuff.

  • zulasurfing

    zulasurfing said 9 years ago

    Thank you for this great video, keep on going your work is just inspiring.

  • snlcreations

    snlcreations said 9 years ago

    WOW!! Amazingly beautiful work!!

  • girliepains

    girliepains said 9 years ago

    Wow! They are adorable!

  • DeShawnMarie

    DeShawnMarie said 9 years ago

    Love the video, great job! Thanks so much for sharing your world with us. Very inspiring.

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 9 years ago

    Great talent and great products!

  • kathyjohnson3

    kathyjohnson3 said 9 years ago

    I always wanted to see how that is done, thanks for sharing!

  • kikisthisandthat

    kikisthisandthat said 9 years ago

    Totally wish I was rich so I could come and work as your apprentice! Have always wanted to learn this....VERY inspiring work! I am sure you will be a HUGE success!

  • SkateBetty

    SkateBetty said 9 years ago

    That video was awesome.

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 said 9 years ago

    Fascinating! Thanks for the video. Your items are beautiful.

  • PthaloAzul

    PthaloAzul said 9 years ago

    The handmade portraits are my favorite--especially when they show so much of the process. I could watch glass blowing all day long.

  • glassartelements

    glassartelements said 9 years ago

    Loved this video.

  • Tanith

    Tanith said 9 years ago

    I always enjoy watching glass blowing. Thanks for sharing the video.

  • emwi

    emwi said 9 years ago

    Glass blowing is so amazing. One of my favorite glass blowing artists is Dale Chihuly. He has a large sculpture at the Columbus Museum where I grew up (Columbus, GA). Here's his site if anyone who hasn't seen his stuff is interested:

  • secretjewellz

    secretjewellz said 9 years ago

    Oh My! I love all types of glass. I loved watching the video. Glass blowing is such a beautiful art. Thanks so much for sharing. :)

  • theroyal

    theroyal said 9 years ago

    fancy :)

  • blessedvintage

    blessedvintage said 9 years ago

    I love the earrings!

  • greenscribble

    greenscribble said 9 years ago

    Ahh every time I see the Klein bottle, my mind explodes a little.

  • dreamyvintage

    dreamyvintage said 9 years ago

    Thank you very much for sharing the awesome video! LOVE it, absolutely amazing :)

  • bernabermek

    bernabermek said 9 years ago

    I really like your work! its amazing! congrats

  • MomsCottage

    MomsCottage said 9 years ago

    Wow! Beautiful stuff!

  • SpareTimeDesigns

    SpareTimeDesigns said 9 years ago

    Beautiful work.....great video. Thanks for sharing :)

  • redemptionart

    redemptionart said 9 years ago

    Fantastic! Where science meets art! Congratulations. Aloha, Connie

  • prisonbreak007

    prisonbreak007 said 9 years ago

    it's amazing

  • indigobjects

    indigobjects said 9 years ago

    Love your work!

  • cherishshanell

    cherishshanell said 9 years ago


  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 9 years ago

    Amazing! My great grandfather was a glass blower, its something I'm always interested in because it feels like it connects me to the past.

  • go2girl

    go2girl said 9 years ago

    So interesting and what beautiful creations!

  • SouthpawPolymer

    SouthpawPolymer said 9 years ago

    I was passing by this page on my way to another link when the shop name caught my eye and I had to stop and see more...I've been admiring everything this artist makes since I first laid eyes on it, so it's awesome to see a Kiva Ford feature here!

  • skrocki

    skrocki said 9 years ago

    beautiful items and interesting story!

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 9 years ago


  • ToucheVintage

    ToucheVintage said 9 years ago

    fantastic work! I've always admired people who can create with glassblowing. I'm jealous, really.

  • LDDecoline

    LDDecoline said 9 years ago

    Perfection !!! Love Kivas work and his skill is just amazing !!

  • LDDecoline

    LDDecoline said 9 years ago

    A great film too - fabulous footage !

  • spontaneousreality

    spontaneousreality said 9 years ago

    Fiery Delicacy....very HOT!

  • BlueberryCream

    BlueberryCream said 9 years ago

    Absolutely fabulous!

  • iowajewel

    iowajewel said 9 years ago

    wow so cool! i've been collecting images for a glass blowing collage kit for a long time, this inspired me to get it finished so i can list it in my shop!

  • glasfaden

    glasfaden said 9 years ago

    Thank you for sharing Kiva's story. Amazing work!

  • littleshopofphotos

    littleshopofphotos said 9 years ago

    Very cool!!! Thanks for sharing your fascinating work!!!

  • BeadSoupJewelry

    BeadSoupJewelry said 9 years ago

    I love blown glass, seeing someone make it is amazing!

  • TheMillineryShop

    TheMillineryShop said 9 years ago

    I love glas vlowing. Went to corning New York as a very little kid to the Corning factory. It started a lifelong collection of miniature glass animal and I still collect. Great job!

  • MitosisGlass

    MitosisGlass said 9 years ago

    How awesome to see Kiva Ford featured here! He's truly an amazing talent. I found him awhile ago in someone's treasury and have been a huge fan of his ever since. Fabulous!

  • maggiem09

    maggiem09 said 9 years ago

    Incredible work! I love your pieces. :]

  • goldminetrash

    goldminetrash said 9 years ago


  • cajata

    cajata said 9 years ago

    I didn't know you could make glass so tiny. What an artist!

  • LidiDesign

    LidiDesign said 9 years ago

    WOW! Amazing! Thanks for sharing your talents and great eye for design!

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat said 9 years ago

    Near where I live the world famous Dartington Glass is produced... you can watch the artists making the items & it's the most fascinating factory tour ever! I just adore the miniature vessels Kiva makes, several of them have found their way onto my favourites list & when my (extremely clumsy) puppy has finally grown up I'm looking to treat myself to one or two pieces!

  • ModernShop

    ModernShop said 9 years ago

    So beautiful and delicate!

  • mrsjade

    mrsjade said 9 years ago

    This was so beautiful to see. And the sentiment of the artist is very lovely to witness

  • mrsjade

    mrsjade said 9 years ago

    This was so beautiful to see. And the sentiment of the artist is very lovely to witness

  • JasmineLund

    JasmineLund said 9 years ago

    Stunningly gorgeous! Congratulations on the feature!

  • NanasSewingBasket

    NanasSewingBasket said 9 years ago


  • conspiracytheory74

    conspiracytheory74 said 9 years ago

    Amazing work.

  • RomanceCatsAndWhimsy

    RomanceCatsAndWhimsy said 9 years ago

    Love the blue glass pendant - so beautiful. You have an amazing talent to bring such beauty to life.

  • KarinHopeDesigns

    KarinHopeDesigns said 9 years ago

    What a beautifully done film, with a spectacular subject!!! Congrats to all involved & Thanks to Etsy for featuring it! I have been completely enamored with Kiva's work since I first came across it searching for mini vases. Every one I've purchased so far was intended for myself, but ended up with a few of my mini origami blossoms as gifts for friends and family, & everyone loved them of course! I'm so upset that I couldn't make it to any of his workshops. I hope the opportunity arises again in the near future (hint hint)!

  • GypsyThreat

    GypsyThreat said 9 years ago

    I LOVE this shop and the fact that Kiva makes scientific glassware is awesome!

  • BanglewoodSupplies

    BanglewoodSupplies said 9 years ago

    Simply Magical!

  • ladybugkarla

    ladybugkarla said 9 years ago

    Wow, truly amazing!

  • dabsh01

    dabsh01 said 9 years ago

    Beautiful Work....

  • sobejeweled

    sobejeweled said 9 years ago

    Gorgeous, I included a piece in my first treasury! I am glad to see how you have been 'discovered' and highlighted here :) Roxie

  • DesignByMagriet

    DesignByMagriet said 9 years ago

    What amazing talent!

  • LizzyLizano

    LizzyLizano said 9 years ago

    Glass blowing to me has always been amazing, I remember visiting a glass blowing studio when I was a little kid and thought it was the cooooolest thing, I kidda keep that with me always. Thanks for sharing, awesome works! :) Lizzy

  • marjudesignsforyou

    marjudesignsforyou said 9 years ago

    a true artist...

  • janewearjewelry

    janewearjewelry said 9 years ago

    oooh wow thats so neat!

  • wishartglass

    wishartglass said 9 years ago

    Blown away! Sending this to my scientist husband who grew up on a farm collecting arrow heads. I'm sure he'll love this story as much as I did!

  • rebourne

    rebourne said 9 years ago

    wow. i really, really enjoy these handmade portraits. i absolutely love going into the workspace, mind, heart, and tools of craftspeople. i love hearing them speak about their work, their inspiration, and seeing their hands create. excellent film. very inspiring.

  • weirdwolf Admin

    weirdwolf said 9 years ago

    This video is so stunning, I can watch it over and over again! Kiva's methodic yet fluid process, Alex's beautiful visuals... Very satisfying indeed.

  • MrsFinder

    MrsFinder said 9 years ago

    Fantastical, the video showed the precision with clear vision as to where you are going with your pieces. Wonderful to behold, thank you for sharing, it was a great way to start the day.

  • ellenhowardhandmade

    ellenhowardhandmade said 9 years ago

    glass blowers rock!

  • jennifermarihageman

    jennifermarihageman said 9 years ago

    What a great video! We had the pleasure of taking a glass blowing class from Kiva this winter. Not only is his artwork fabulous, he is a fantastic teacher too!!!

  • chillien

    chillien said 9 years ago

    You are so COOL Kiva!!! Aside from watching a really cool video, I actually learnt something. I had no idea that glass did not convert to a crystalline state. I have always been fascinated by glass blowing and I hope to experience it for myself one day.

  • designlab443

    designlab443 said 9 years ago

    Great video!

  • amyrigs

    amyrigs said 9 years ago

    Wow! This really is amazing! I would buy if I had the money! :) Beautiful work that you do! Keep it up!

  • renegadeperceptions

    renegadeperceptions said 9 years ago

    So cool! I've seen your art around everywhere here on Etsy...

  • vintagemaison

    vintagemaison said 9 years ago

    I love the green glass ornament - but particularly the tiny green jug next to the clothes peg - so, so beautiful.

  • vinika

    vinika said 9 years ago

    Those are so beautiful, I once saw artisans in Venice blow glass. It was wicked cool!

  • TheNightjar

    TheNightjar said 9 years ago

    glass blowing is so fun! I wish I had a workshop to keep doing it....Those miniature vessels are really incredible!! Such skill goes into in

  • StainedGlassStudio

    StainedGlassStudio said 9 years ago

    Awesome! I love everything here :-) Great talent

  • janetgreenstudios

    janetgreenstudios said 9 years ago

    Great talent. It can also be dangerous. If you inhale the fire goes into your mouth. I wish I could do it.! I can't use a computer so I don't want to try it.

  • janetgreenstudios

    janetgreenstudios said 9 years ago

    Great talent. It can also be dangerous. If you inhale the fire goes into your mouth. I wish I could do it.! I can't use a computer so I don't want to try it.

  • dickandfranny

    dickandfranny said 9 years ago

    Great video & stunning work! I posted the video on my blog - :-)

  • LillieRainDesigns

    LillieRainDesigns said 9 years ago

    I love glass and I love torches! Fabulous work!

  • blevison Admin

    blevison said 9 years ago

    Hey, thank you dickandfranny for reposting this piece!!!!! We love that!

  • rakubuttons

    rakubuttons said 9 years ago

    Amazing 'real job' and I hope they can never duplicate it enough to be obsolete. I think glass is the ultimate perfect material. In history and in modern times there is nothing so versitile and beautiful. I once knew a gifted glass artist who felt a real passion for his material and craft. Nothing else could fufill him like glass work. Now I love how you love it. The teeny tiny bottles and captured animals are wonderful. I am glad I got a glimpse of your world.

  • trulyenchanted

    trulyenchanted said 9 years ago

    Divine! Your work is absolute perfection---I've always been fascinated by glassblowing but have yet the time and chance to learn--your work is by far the most detailed I have ever seen. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  • jdrcam

    jdrcam said 9 years ago

    Wow! I have seen alot of glass blowers in my day, and I have always been amazed with it. But your miniature artistic creations are very intriguing and different. I enjoyed watching your video and have a deep respect for your work. I am so glad that you are helping keep it alive and even introducing new and exciting things to the art! I'm Hooked!

  • emilybidwell Admin

    emilybidwell said 9 years ago

    Wonderful portrait. I love the comment about the arrowheads and mastering one skill. What a great thing to remember as we often get torn in many different directions with all of the internet and media distractions that seem to be a part of contemporary life. Better to be great at one thing than mediocre at a thousand things.

  • lemontreecards

    lemontreecards said 9 years ago

    One word....amazing.

  • FourSailAccessories

    FourSailAccessories said 9 years ago

    Wow, I just came across your artwork, its amazing. Watching this video made it even more amazing, to see how delicate and precise each movement is.

  • Glassnfire

    Glassnfire said 9 years ago

    From one artist to another. Very Nice

  • justthegoods

    justthegoods said 9 years ago

    MIND BLOWING! Erm, pun intended (after the fact) =-) =-) =-)

  • SlinkyLynx

    SlinkyLynx said 9 years ago

    What incredible skill you have to get perfect symmetry in something so small. You are my new hero!

  • HeylaniJewelry

    Elan Buendia from HeylaniJewelry said 9 years ago

    Beautiful!! Both Kiva's sweet work, which I've liked for sometime now! AND the video/cinematography! Wonderful Etsy Video! Thanks!

  • GoddessEngraving

    Joanna Alley from GlassGoddessNgraving said 8 years ago

    Now I want to engrave tiny bottles =)

  • 1022SeaShellAve

    Kim Bauer from 1022SeaShellAve said 8 years ago

    ~~Loved this!

  • thunderbearspirit

    Ravenna Windwalker from thunderbearspirit said 8 years ago

    I am absolutely enthralled by your artistry! Your work is incredible

  • imkadesign

    irmin helak from imkadesign said 8 years ago

    just one word: MASTER

  • thevintagepainting

    Geometricink lunzer from GeometricInk said 8 years ago

    Great video and what a talent! So much creativity in glass blowing!

  • skylarbaldino

    Skylar Baldino from OriginalJewelry101 said 8 years ago

    I love everything do make! :)

  • keieneres

    keieneres said 7 years ago

    simply amazing ^^

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  • thepoisonappleboutiq

    Patricia Roper from thepoisonappleboutiq said 6 years ago

    Beautiful! and Amazing! love everything

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