Christmas Ornaments...made in Poland
I was tagged by my dear friend, the Headmistress of The Common Room, to share my favorite Christmas ornaments. Alas, alas. All my Christmas ornaments, favorites and otherwise, remain packed away, unused this year while we are in the States. They will be all the more welcome when we see them next year, of course.
However...did you know that most of the pretty glass Christmas ornaments are made in Eastern Europe, including Poland? Several years ago, K's preschool class took a field trip to one of the factories near Krakow, and we were invited to go along. All the children got to see how Christmas ornaments are made, and then paint an ornament to keep for themselves.
First, all these ornaments are "handblown." Each glass blower has a glass rod, which he heats in the furnace until the tip is hot enough to blow. He blows the glass into the desired size globes--just look at the pile of glass "bubbles" beside this worker. If the ornament is going to be shaped, rather than spherical, the bubble is blown inside a mold. Each ornament had a long, hollow glass tube coming from one end. This is used to handle the ornament as it is being decorated, and it will later be cut off short. That makes the part where the hanger is attached.
After the ornaments are blown, they are "silvered" on the inside. This involves quite a bit of shaking by an odd machine--I bet some of the ornaments break! After they are silvered, they are dipped in various colors of paint and allowed to dry. At that point, you could finish them off and have plain, colored Christmas ornaments. However, quite often they are hand-painted with additional designs--especially the shaped ornaments, but sometimes the round ones too. The children were able to choose the colors of the balls they wanted to paint and decorate.
E. painted the word "Redwall" onto her ornament.
You can buy these glass ornaments for fairly reasonable prices in Poland, and I usually buy one for each child every Christmas. Someday, they will have a nice collection of ornaments to remind them of growing up in Poland. I have a nice little collection of shaped houses--including a church--which I add to each year. Maybe I can show off our collection next year!