Glass Blowing - Guatemala

One of my favorite things to photograph in Guatemala was people making things with their hands – weaving, squeezing juice, patting tortillas, etc. The most fun I had taking pictures was at a glass blowing factory in Cantel, a small town outside of Quetzaltenango. The workers let me get close, and it was fun to use the light coming from the molten glass in my pictures.

Piles of broken bottles and glasses wait to get melted down and recycled into new glass products. Guatemala has a problem with waste management and littering, so it was great to see a factory that uses glass waste in a productive way.

Workers heat and shape glass in the factory.
A worker blows air into a ball of hot glass to create a bubble inside.
After the glass is blown, it is shaped using various tools including molds and flat surfaces. Here glass is shaped using a stack of newspapers.
Workers use tweezers to add detail to a hot wine glass.
When workers are finished shaping the glass, it is placed in a furnace called an annealer. The furnace controls the rate at which the glass cools. This regulated cooling helps the glass from becoming brittle.
When the glass is finished it is receives finishing details like polishing before it is sold. The factory in Cantel sells glasses, bowls and other kitchenware.