Thursday, November 29, 2012

Czech Glass Ornaments

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.



5 comments:

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Someday, when my house is full of less rowdy people, I dream of having some lovely glass ornaments...

Roderick Robinson said...

Now that top one would test Photoshop: Remove Color Cast or Adjust Hue/Saturation to the point of explosion. Not that it needs either, you understand. And not that you'd ever use anything so crude and/or simplified; you probably work from the RGB color disc.

Julia said...

GG - I'll save some for you when you come visit!

Robbie - I've used Photoshop Adjust Hue many a time, but this time did leave everything just as (we had a dinner to head to). Can you imagine what the workshop where all those feathers fly must look like? One day I really want to visit.

Lucy said...

Amazing they're still made like that. Glass blowing and working is always fascinating, memories of the Glass Animal Man in Brighton, we always had to stop and watch him on the way from the train to the beach, and Caithness paperweights in Oban. Collectors' paperweights don't do much for me per se but watching them making them was great!

Julia said...

Lucy, I have a tiny drop of glass from Venice that I saw being made when we were there on our honeymoon. I treasure it above all other souvenirs from that trip just because I saw it take form.