My dad remembers his grandparents having this crystal for family gatherings and holiday dinners –and it could have belonged to his great-grandparents for all we know. Because truth be told, we know SO LITTLE.
At my house it comes out for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I really never gave it much thought. Until we made this stop at Celtic Crystal, I never knew just what the difference was between plain old glass, and cut crystal.
If you want to know more…click HERE to visit the company’s website-- Their photos are much better than mine!
We were given a very nice “introductory to cut crystal” by our guide ---who explained to us that glass is blown and shaped, and then cooled. After which trained artisans with up to 8 or more years of intense training learn to cut the patterns by eye with no templates, no computer programs….every cut and etching being placed by hand with a grinding wheel.
Isn’t it gorgeous? I even thought more so as our guide explained the process that takes many steps and a lot of time.
Our guide showing us how red glass was fused over clear glass, and then the cuts are made through the outer layer to reveal the clear again..
The green one is done much the same way ---
Every cut memorized and placed by eye ---and by ear. The sound of the grinding wheel tells the cutter if he has gone deep enough, without going all the way through.
This is our craftsman – showing how he marked intervals on the bowl as registration marks – much like a longarm quilter will do when getting ready to free-hand quilt a feather in a border.
He turns on the wheel, and the faucet that runs water over the wheel to rinse away the grit..and begins to grind his pattern into the glass.
Other than those registration marks…this is all done from memory. And years of experience!
Here is the first step of the cable design cut into the glass by the grinding stone ---
And then…he etched an “Irish Rose” design into the bottom:
Each cut made by placing the bowl against the grinding wheel……making each mark as precise as the last…..There are more steps to go through to smooth out the cuts, to polish the glass, to make it ready for sale.
I’ll never look at cut crystal the same ever again…..it is a labor intensive very time consuming process, and there is no such thing as “mass production” here. These are works of art!
This trip is turning out to be quite the equestrian adventure as well. Look what was waiting outside:
A pair of playful colts were romping in the sunshine!
While other horses calmly grazed ---
Hello, White Beauty!
A very horsey self-portrait!
((How do teenagers do this and make it work I’m terrible at it!))
Class Day #1 is done…and I’ll spend a bit more evening time editing those photos and getting them ready to post tomorrow morning, my time. I know posts are posting at really wild times, but I have to post them in the time zone I’m living in ---
Tomorrow is a busy day – two half day classes! Jared Takes A Wife in the morning – and String Spiderweb in the afternoon! We are ready to make a complete mess and have a ball doing it!