This past Thursday I had a really great opportunity to go to the local glass blowing workshop. This wasn’t your, wow look at all this really fine, delicate, expensive art, no. This was a workshop where a group of men worked incredibly hard and efficient to create a large volume of recycled glass products.
The workshop space itself was relatively small and packed with stuff. All the glass and most of the metal used in the workshop is recycled, and the waiting-to-be-used glass has to be stored somewhere. You have to carefully make your way around the mountains of bags filled with broken glass in order to catch an inner glimpse of the main workshop area.
Here the oven was focal point of the room. Squatting like a tired elephant fire eyes looked out at you waiting for your next move. The oven was divided by vertical horizontal sheets giving a series of small but present work stations. This side involved a group of five men making clear shot glasses lined with a blue rim.
A man would approach the beast of an oven with a hallow, metal pole and put a wad of glass into the fire. Once the glass was sufficiently heated, he removed the pole and walked over to a flimsy work station. At this point he would combine a number of different actions: using big tongs he would smooth out the glass connecting the glob to the metal pole, he would swing the pole like an old clock hand, and then he would very carefully placed the glass into a metal model located on the concrete ground.
The other side of the room and oven held a different, yet equally intriguing system. The men here were making what appeared to be larger glasses and worked so efficiently I almost could keep track. As soon as man 1 finished blowing and shaping his glass, he would walk over to a separate work station, mark the glass, and forcefully tape it against the side of the tray. The moment the glass hit the tray another man would walk up, attach the bottom of cup to his pole via molten glass and move on to making the bottom.
This process was seamless. In the 5 minutes I stood, entranced, the men made 5 cups all with a surgical precision.
After our tour of the shop we spent some time exploring the store. Full of beautiful cups, mugs, glasses and more in a rainbow of glass I only wish I had a way to bring home a full set. Maybe next time.
If you’re in Mexico City I highly recommend you make a stop at this shop. It’s not a place you would stay for more than an hour or two, but intriguing nonetheless. The shop hours are 10-5 Monday-Friday, but if you want to be there when the men are working make sure to get there before 3.
LEOFAR, fundicion de vidrio
H Galeana No. 136 Col. Barrio
del Nino jesus. Del. Tlalpan
(55) 5655 3825 // 5513 7458