"I love blown glass because of the pure imagination poured into every piece created...."
The artistry of Javier and Efren has been featured in periodicals ranging from Sunset magazine to the Miami Herald.
Since the 1990s, Javier Gutiérrez and Efrén Canteras have worked together to preserve Mexico's blown glass artistry. "This type of work is a beautiful craft. I love blown glass because of the pure imagination poured into every piece created," confides Efrén.
"Even though the art of blowing glass originally came to Mexico from Spain, and it is practiced all over the world, Mexico's blown glass artistry is unique," says Javier enthusiastically.
"I was 15 years old when I began blowing glass. Now I have the opportunity to teach the art of blowing hot glass to other young artisans. I start by employing people as my assistants, but I aim to train them to be experts, glass blowers equipped with a beautiful and useful skill.
Working as a team, Javier specializes in the design of the pieces, and Efrén transforms the designs into a reality. "Efrén and I make a great team. Over the years we have worked hard to design truly original styles with a distinctly Mexican accent."
Javier and Efren work with lead-free, un-tempered and recycled glass, which is melted at very high temperatures. They use a long steel blowpipe to pick a glob of molten glass and, holding the pipe with one hand, they masterfully start shaping the desired piece by blowing through the other end of the pipe using tools with their free hand. They must work fast, while the molten glass is still hot, adding color and other desired effects.
When the piece is ready, they cut it off the pipe leaving a pontil on the bottom indicating the piece is mouth blown. It is placed in a tempering kiln for several hours and then left to cool.
Given the handcrafted nature of the process, there will never be two completely identical pieces. Air bubbles are often present as a result of this technique, adding to the admirable uniqueness of this legendary art form.