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Alan Iwamura wears purple-tinted shades when he's glassblowing, but the look has nothing to do with fashion. The lenses are made of didymium, Iwamura explains, which "removes the soda flare from the flame when I use a blow torch." We're sitting at a little table just outside the Brooklyn Glass studio in Gowanus, a 4,000-square-foot facility where Iwamura is the director of education. He adds jokingly, "They only recently started making these new stylish...

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