HackSpace magazine

TV Review: Blown Away

By Ben Everard. Posted

The format for this Netflix show is simple – take a group of glass- blowers and, each episode, give them a challenge and eliminate whoever performs worst. This format is particularly brutal because it doesn’t give the competitors a chance to redeem their mistakes – one false move and they’re out.

When working with glass, it’s easy for one false move to result in the utter destruction of the piece you’re working on. While this can happen at any time, a particularly risky time is getting the piece off the punty (a metal rod used to hold the glass as it’s worked) and into the annealer (an oven that very slowly cools down the glass to room temperature to ensure that it doesn’t crack).

It doesn’t matter how well your glass is worked, if your tap to break it off the punty is a little too hard, or you don’t hold it properly, all you’ve made is a pile of broken glass.

There are parallels to the Great British Bake Off in Blown Away, and the strongest of these parallels are in the medium, rather than the structure of the competition.

Molten glass, like cake batter, is in a constant state of flux. You can influence it, you can work with it, but you can never really control it in the same way you can with, say, metal or wood.

It doesn’t stay still, so once you’ve begun the process of creation, you’re thrust into a stream of work that it’s hard to stop or pause, until you’ve gone all the way through to a finished product in the annealer.

Blown Away is an entertaining watch in its own right, and we enjoyed getting an insight into the process of glass-making, but we would have preferred a slightly safer competition, where makers were eliminated on the results of two or three makes, rather than having just a single chance
each episode.

Verdict: 9 out of 10

Great entertainment and some truly impressive builds