One of our favorite stands at the Namesti Miru Christmas market specializes in hand blown glass ornaments. Every December, the children and I choose a new figure from their collection, and each year I wonder - where did you come from?
Today I decided to find out. The Czech Republic (and Czechoslovakia before it) has a long tradition of glass making, and I've even visited a few bead making workshops. I didn't know, though, if the factories for hand blown ornaments still existed.
Happily, I discovered that they do. One factory, Opavska Tovarna, creates over a million ornaments a year. Most are sold abroad, but at least 10% stay in the country. Another, Ozdoba CZ, has a history that stretches back to the 19th century, and is a family run factory restituted after the Velvet Revolution. Glassor's selection of ornament shapes is one of the most extensive (and beautiful) I've seen.
As you can see in the video below, it still takes a great deal of manual labor to make glass Christmas ornaments. After watching the factory ladies handle the hot glass, form it into many different shapes, then decorate the results with glue, glitter and color, I have a new appreciation for the figures we collect, and for the people who create them.
If I'm not working or hanging out with our 10 year old while a bouncy 5 year old dances around us, there's a good chance I'll be hammering away on our piano, reading a book or trying to sketch. I live in Prague, Czech Republic and hail from the U.S. South.