Glass is perhaps the perfectly sustainable material. It’s made from raw, naturally-occurring material, is easy and convenient to recycle, and can be recycled over and over again. What’s more, the recycling and reusing process can be easily modified to be environmentally sound. Sometimes, not surprisingly, older, almost forgotten methods and techniques that rely on skilled craftsmen instead of modern machinery and chemicals, are also the best for the environment. These pieces of handblown glassware combine art with practicality in a whole new way.
Our story starts with a glass soda bottle from a certain, well-known Atlanta-based cola company. At one point, that bottle was filled with caramel-colored sugary liquid. Perhaps it was served icy cold on a hot day. Fortunately, instead of being tossed in the trash, our bottle made it to the recycling bin. Its luck held out, because rather than go to a general recycling plant where it would be melted down with other similar glass, our bottle went to a small factory that only accepts other bottles just like ours. They can be intact or broken, it doesn’t matter.
At the factory, the bottles are gathered together and broken into pieces before being melted back into molten, liquid glass. This is when the magic starts. Using techniques passed down through many generations, skilled artisans carefully handcraft the molten glass into stunning pieces of art. The process of handblowing each piece is slow, requiring careful timing and great skill.
Some pieces are left clear, and you can still see the characteristic greenish tint of the glass, a hint at the origin of the piece. Others are decorated with carefully applied colors, swirls of jewel-tone blue or green, or speckles of rainbow colors that catch the light and seem to dance. Still others are carefully tinted in shades of amber, rich red, and even deep, inky black.
When it’s all done, where there was once a pile of empty, chipped and broken bottles there are now rows of stunning glassware, sparkling in the light. The pieces feel good in the hand, the smooth glass seems cool, and their weight makes them feel sturdy and comfortable.
This is the story of our glassware. Each piece has been lovingly created by hand, carefully crafted by a skilled artist into something more than just a glass. Each piece is also a truly sustainable work of art, preserving a centuries-old traditional craft in a beautiful and practical way.