Meet the Artisans: Meet our glass blowing group, Copavic
Meet Copavic. Copavic is an artisan owned cooperative in Cantel, Quetzaltenango. They make beautiful glassware using recycled glass. Copavic was founded in 1976 as a way to provide income for young people during the 36 year civil war. The cooperative was founded by a glass blower who was looking for a new opportunity after the glass factory where he worked closed. Together with other interested artisans, they built the ovens and the factory little by little. Now, the cooperative has 20 members and provides work for up to 38 artisans when they are in production. Due to the high costs of heating the ovens and the difficulty in finding clients, the group only produces their beautiful glassware a handful of times a year. When the artisans aren't producing beautiful glassware, they dedicate themselves to working in the fields or to weaving cortes, the traditional skirts, using large foot looms.
The products are made from all recycled glass. People drop off glass at the factory year round, which gets cleaned up, the label removed, and broken in to smaller pieces that can be melted down.
After the glass has been prepped and is melted down, the artisans begin to form it in to their unique products. There are seven stations in total, and each station has a master artisans and two apprentices. The group provides all of the training on-site, and they are excited to say that they are once again drawing interest from young people who want to learn the art of glass blowing. The artisans move around each other in what appears to be a well-choreographed dance, moving between the ovens and their work stations to blow, mold, and form the glass product.
Once the item has been formed, the artisans fire it under a modified blow torch and place it in a large brick oven to be fired at the end of production. The products get fired for 24 hours before they are finished. Once they are done, they are left with a one-of-a-kind glass, cup, or pitcher.
Sharing the Dream in Guatemala
Diane Nesselhuf is Sharing the Dream in Guatemala's director and founder.