Hand blown art glass in Brazil
"The process is totally handcrafted in such a way that there are never two identical pieces. Each one is unique."Born in Santa Catarina, Rodrigo Honorio learned to work in Murano-style art glass with his father.
"My father was a master craftsman who worked many years in blown glass, showing the art behind the creation of each piece. He taught me that the forms are infinite, depending only on the artisan's ability and creativity. Our area became a center for this work in the 1980s and '90s.
"The art of the blown glass is taught to the apprentices who must develop the skill until they become artisans. On average, there's a learning period of five years to be able to create designs that can be sold," he says. "To master this craft, I had to first find a supplier for the materials I needed. I then worked for years to develop the ability to mold the crystal before I could set up a qualified team. Three people must work together for each piece we create.
"Materials like sand and its elements give more purity and shine to the glass, transforming it into crystal. Our raw materials are purchased from manufacturers and distributors.
"When a piece is damaged, it is broken and reused when creating the molten glass for a new design. Lead is not used in the production process, as it is a heavy metal that can cause cancer. We utilize other components that bring purity and shine to the crystal.
"When asked about my favorite part of this art or what I find most challenging, I say this. The process is totally handcrafted in such a way that there are never two identical pieces. Each one is unique. The technique was developed in Italy, and once concentrated on the Island of Murano where it has been passed from generation to generation.
"Here in my workshop, we can create freely. Therefore, it's easy to find inspiration when working with other professional craftspeople. We all collaborate and the creativity flows.
"It was it difficult to set up my workshop. In Brazil, there is a lot of legislation and all kinds of regulations that demand a great deal of preparation and costs at the beginning. In addition, the tax burden scares all entrepreneurial people. However, we were able to make this a success and today we generate employment opportunities for local residents.
"We hope to take this millenary art to the future generations. It's not an easy craft to master, but we continue to train young people so there will always be skilled Murano style blown glass artisans in Brazil."