The current form of glass making in Hebron most likely began in the 13th century - though no one argues that glass making has been an industry in Palestine since the Roman period...a long, long time ago. I've admired the roman glass that is found in archaeological digs around here, and leaped at the chance to visit the few remaining places in Hebron keeping this tradition alive. The whole glass making/blowing concept (turn sand into what?) still seems like magic to me.
Here's a link to an incredible article on a place we visited today. We visited two workshops; here are a few pics of the first stop:
The kids enjoyed learning about this part of their heritage, and even got to practice making their own glass pieces.
It definitely appeared to be an acquired skill, but all had a great time...especially those of us who just got to watch and stay out of the heat. That oven was cooking! I'm certain that I would have lit myself on fire if they had succeeded in getting me to take a turn.
Quite the selection of masterpieces adorned the generations old family shop. If I had any notion that glass could travel well (oh yeah, or the money), I'd have bought them out. Alas, we enjoyed admiring the creations and look forward to enjoying the two water glasses we limited ourselves to.
Imad, who is featured in the article I mentioned, was just beginning a new piece in the shop as we were leaving; we were in for quite the treat. We watched his masterful work from start to finish on a stunning piece. Here are a few pics and a video of that process so you can experience it too:
I talked with Imad when he was finished and he said his oven was 1400 degrees C (2500 deg. F), and that the pot would need to "cool" for 6 hours in a separate 550 degree (1022 deg. F) oven or it would shatter. That's cookin'.
This is the great article on the history of glass work and other Hebron details if you missed it earlier. Thankful to experience this history today, and to hear Imad's, and other's stories about their ancient heritage and passion for the incredible work they do. Stunning, isn't it?