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NAGAR GLASS FACTORY in Yangon, Myanmar

Hi there! 🙂

I’d like to share this article about an old glass factory in Yangon, in Myanmar, destroyed by the Nargis Cyclone the 2nd of May 2008.

I don’t remember how I discovered the Nagar Glass Factory. I suppose someone must have talked to me about it when I was living in Yangon. I didn’t wait a longtime to go and take a look. What I discovered was a huge area covered with tropical plants growing everywhere, an abandoned site, with no human post-Cyclone intervention.

A natural path already existing leaded to the house of a three generation Chinese family, owners of the factory. The house is open to the nature and the remaining surroundings of what once seemed to function well. This family lives there in discreet conditions because of the disaster but it seems they wouldn’t sell the property, even when Japanese people proposed to buy and reconstruct the factory. Under the shadow of the luxuriant surrounding vegetation, tiger mosquitos fly everywhere. I remember, I used to cover myself with tropical mosquito repellent every time I visited this place and the times I forgot it was a nightmare!

Still, this place is amazing! It’s a jungle in the city of Yangon. Narrow paths lead to what once was a glass factory. There are the remaining of the various workshops, the oven made with red briques,… Bottles, vases, plates, abandoned and mixed with the vegetation became part of the environment. In Myanmar, the humidity and the hot temperatures make the plants grow very quickly. I visited this place in 2011.

The owners of the place have a big table covered with glass objects for sell created in the past. They told me that I was free to search around and find anything I like, they’d clean or adjust it and sell it to me.

Going around this place, wondering and searching among the plants isn’t the easiest thing to do but it’s so exciting! I’ve found many objects here which became projects I exposed later in Europe. Like ©1853 candleholders inspired by the kerosene lamp discovered in 1853 (you can see a photo of the old kerosene lamp which inspired my ©1853 candleholders. Also, a small series of very fine glass vases, Christmas decorations, vases and many other treasures…

I wanted to create a project which unfortunately remained a project because of lack of time: A collection of combined glass sculptures, I still keep in my drawers. Who knows, maybe one day…

Here are some photos of the Nagar Glass Factory I’ve taken during my visits there:

I hope you liked reading this post. If yes, I invite you to put a Like. Also, I’d be very glad to reply to any questions or have your impressions.

Thank you for reading!

“KERAMIS”, a project created with cement (& not only!)

Keramis is a project born from the collaboration with Cement Design and Fooddesignstories.

Keramis can be used as a centerpiece or decorative element; it can be produced in different exemplars and colors, with or without a stamp, in a matt or glossy version. It’s inspired by the Byzantine tiles, found since the ancient times on the roofs of houses in the region of Northern Greece called Macedonia, the land of Alexander the Great.

I found the inspiration during a hot summer afternoon…I used a tile from the village of Assiros, a few kilometers from the city of Thessaloniki, which I then covered with the materials provided by Cement Design, adding natural pigments, the same as those used to make the icons of the Greek Orthodox rite. I used to make icons at the past and I still have the materials (Icons are painted in the traditional way using: natural pigments, egg, white vinegar).

Looking at the old tiles and houses around me I found amazing how time leaves it’s marks on the objects, in our lives, in our souls and cultures from generation to generation and in our history.

I can be anywhere in the world and feel home every time I change place but I know where my roots are.

So, I just wanted to recreate this patina of time on the Byzantine tile, which accompanies our senses on an ideal journey through the centuries of this mysterious and fascinating region, in which the stories and destinies of the Southern Mediterranean intertweave … Italy, France, Greece, ancient Byzantium, modern Istanbul.

Here’s my presentation of KERAMIS plate:

Myanmar handcrafted cooking tool

When I was living in Myanmar, in Yangon, I’ve been very lucky to work with different craftsmen. Well, if you’re reading this post you know it already, these are not big news…

One fine day, one of them came knocking on my door and when I asked which was exactly the reason of his visit, he turned his back and show me the following object:

The front part of the kitchen tool

He said that he carried it through the jungle on his back from the upper part of Myanmar (Shan State if I remember, I am not sure) and that it was a fine exemplary of the traditional handicraft of the region, used for cooking. The dark color of the “pan” was due to the heat and long use.

I like a lot the fine work of the object as well as the different patterns and mixed technique.

The back of the kitchen tool

He added that since I was interested in the local handcraft of his country he had to give me this object, even though he cherished it a lot (it must not have been very comfortable to carry around on one’s back through the jungle). He said he trusted me to keep this in good condition.

I’ve been really touched by this gesture and to be honest I’m not sure to have all this merit. I’m profoundly thankful to this man with whom (together with his team) we worked for the woodwork of my  “PADDY”, FLOOR LAMP

Through this page I’d like to thank him for his kindness. I promise I’ll always keep it safe.

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