Czech glass­blow­ers keep tra­di­tion alive

The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - Front Page - By Petr David Josek

A fam­ily busi­ness is one of the last places where tra­di­tional glass beads for Christ­mas are made.

PONIKLA, CZECH REPUB­LIC (AP) >> A small fam­ily busi­ness in a moun­tain­ous vil­lage in north­ern Czech Repub­lic says it’s the last place in the world where tra­di­tional Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions from blown glass beads are made.

Fewer than two dozen glass work­ers work­ing from their homes keep alive the tra­di­tion, which dates to the mid-19th cen­tury in the vil­lage of Ponikla.

The beads are all blown and painted by hand, with help from sim­ple machines. They’re a prod­uct of the thriv­ing glass in­dus­try in the re­gion, and were orig­i­nally mostly used to dec­o­rate folk cos­tumes in Ger-

many, Aus­tria and else­where.

Aftera Ja­panese com­peti­tor copied the pro­duc­tion process in the early 20th cen­tury, lo­cal bead mak­ers found a new use for them in Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions.

The del­i­cate bead dec­o­ra­tions from the Rautis com­pany are to­day ex­ported to sev­eral Euro­pean coun­tries and the United States.

The Czech Repub­lic has nom­i­nated the tra­di­tion for in­clu­sion in the UNESCO’s List of the In­tan­gi­ble Cul­tural Her­itage of Hu­man­ity.

AP PHOTO/PETR DAVID JOSEK

In this pic­ture taken on Nov. 28, a worker col­ors small blown glass beads in the vil­lage of Ponikla, Czech Repub­lic. The small fam­ily busi­ness in a moun­tain­ous vil­lage in north­ern Czech Repub­lic is the last place in the world where tra­di­tional Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions are made from glass beads blown and painted by hand.

AP PHOTO/PETR DAVID JOSEK

In this pic­ture taken on Nov. 28, a tra­di­tional worker makes Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions from small blown glass beads in the vil­lage of Ponikla, Czech Repub­lic.

AP PHOTO/PETR DAVID JOSEK

In this pic­ture taken on Nov. 28, Marek Kul­havy blows small glass beads in the vil­lage of Ponikla, Czech Repub­lic.

AP PHOTO/PETR DAVID JOSEK

In this pic­ture taken on Nov. 28, small blown glass beads are placed to dry dur­ing the man­u­fac­tur­ing process.

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