This week has been particularly busy as I started my month’s work experience at Ajeto Glass factory in Lindava.
Ajeto is a Glass blowing factory which specialises in hand crafted individual pieces, produced at an industrious and almost mass produced scale. Opened in 1994, it wasn’t long until the factory became very popular with the locals and tourists. As a result of this another, smaller factory and restaurant were opened in Novy Bor in 1997 and in 2008 a barn was converted into a restaurant/tourist demonstration studio to join the larger factory in Lindava. http://www.ajetoglass.com/en/
Here are some pictures of where I have been (and will continue to be) working. I am very excited about this opportunity as the chance to study with professional glass blowers, assisting them whilst also having the chance to practice for free, would be very unlikely in England.
The first week at Ajeto went very well. I started by working in the smaller studio assisting two glassblowers with a Fish/Tealight holder commission. As you can see from the pictures, the object when facing upwards resembles a fish, but once turned over, with the excess glass removed, it becomes a stand for a candle.
At first I was just sitting a watching them work, learning the techniques and use of tools. However, by the end of the day they were letting me have a go! Unfortunately, my attempts were unsuccessful, but it was a lot of fun and it felt amazing to be back working with glass 🙂
In the next few days, I was working in the larger factory. This was rather daunting as I was around so many brilliant glass blowers who were producing pieces bigger than my head…
Still, all of the workers were lovely and soon enough I was busy working, making glass tablets that had colours and images imprinted into them. The actual process itself uses the molten glass from the furnace but does not involve blowing. Instead the glass it poured into a steel ring and brass stamps are pushed in as it cools. In some ways this was a gentle introduction into the larger factory as it was very hot in comparison to the furnace in the smaller studio or to any I have seen in England. Therefore, I was given the chance to grow accustomed to the heat and atmosphere.
During the rest of the week I continued to work in the small studio and the larger factory, working on the same commission and bulking up other supplies for objects that would be sold in the shop. These included, vases, beer glasses, sweets and jugs. Also, as it is nearing Easter, a lot of our pieces were themed that way: From Eggs, to Easter canes and bunny imprints into the glass tablets.
Due to the Easter theme, we also had a lot of visitors who wanted their own personalised glass gift. These could vary in colour or pattern as we had a wide range of textured moulds and coloured frits to choose from. Needless to say this kept me and the two men I was assisting very busy, but it also gave me the opportunity to practice making these objects myself. So, at the end of the week, I have successfully made two hollow Easter eggs, two glass sweets and three fish/candle holders! I have posted pictures of the most successful pieces below, unfortunately the fish/candle holders still need a lot of work so keep yours eyes open for my next couple of updates!