Yesterday Jim and I joined some other families to tour a glass-blowing factory (and then have an awesome lunch at the Nelson’s!) that is situated about 45 minutes outside of Kyiv.
When we entered the factory I was surprised by how noisy it was. And all that noise was caused by incredibly hot blow torches. The women sit with these torches in front of them, elbows supported by pillows, arms protected by fireproof cuffs, for the entire day. The heat emanating from their work stations was intense, to say the least.
Attached to each workplace are two round circles — only a milimeter difference in diameter. Each ornament that is blown must be small enough to fit through one ring, but too big to fit through the other. I didn’t personally see one woman blow an ornament that didn’t fit these dimensions.
Though most of the ornaments are round, some of these glass-blowers also create specific-shaped decorations. This worker is creating a tulip. Our hostess had several of these in a vase in her kitchen. Truly beautiful.
After the ornaments have cooled they are dipped into a bucket of paint, whichever color is to be the background. They are then placed on a thin rod to travel through the light tunnel. By the time they reach the other end they are dry enough to take upstairs to the paint artists.
Their finished products are then boxed and sold throughout Ukraine, and Europe. (At this point there is no American outlet for these ornaments…let us know if you know anybody who might be interested!)