Artesanias en Vidrio, Tlalpujahua, Michoacán
One feels the joy of the Christmas holidays all year long when visiting Martin Marin Cruz’ workshop in the tiny puebla of Tlapujahuilla just above the small town of Tlapujahua in the state of Michoacán. Why? Because Martin and his family create hand-blown glass Christmas ornaments.
Martin began to learn the art of glass-blowing at the age of 15 from his father who opened the first workshop in the community when he was only 20 years old. To-date, his father, mother, wife and a myriad of relatives work together in a workshop next door to their home.
The family creates beautiful hand-blown glass ornaments and other objects. Some family members are experts at glass blowing - Martin and his father are the lead glass blowers. Martin's wife, Rosa María, takes the lead role in painting and decorating the glass with the help of relatives, while others have taken on the business side of the work by packing and labeling. It is truly a family run business.
Initially, they made only Christmas ornaments, but due to the competition of ornaments coming in from China and other countries, Martin saw the need to expand their business. He began to experiment with making flowers, fruit and other items and that is a successful part of their business as well.
The technique of glass blowing is a delicate one. The glass is heated and shaped by blowing through a thin glass tube. It is cooled standing on its stem and then placed in a silver solution before being painted and decorated. For ornaments, the "foot" of the piece is cut off in order to put the hanger mechanism in place. In addition, family members work creating glass flower arrangements and other gift items. Despite this being a labor-intensive craft, the items are very reasonably priced.
Tlapujahua is a Pueblo Magico and has an annual Christmas ornament festival from the October 2 to December 15. It is a picturesque setting nestled high up in a pine forest and is still relatively undiscovered. Martin loves his community and glows when he describes his work. He is proud of the fact that the work supports an extended family.
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