By Raan Parton
Photos by Duncan Wolfe
The day began with another early breakfast at 6:45 AM at Hotel Azul for Duncan and I to sit down and review the day. After an hour, we were picked up and headed to Magdelena Etla where Salvador lives. We wanted to meet with Salvador before the second studio day got underway to get some images of what the start of the day looked like for Salvador and what the daily commute was like heading to Xuiquixe. We were greeted by Salvador (from Xaquixe) when we arrived with a green pod fruit with white casing around the seeds which. Salvador wasn't sure of the name of the fruit but it was so delicious that we started calling it "natures cotton candy." Perfect start.
We spent the day at the studio working through various ideas and prototypes. We had created a lot of samples the day before but all simpler in form, whereas today we worked on the pieces with more complex geometries and volumes. Yesterday, we made 12 different pieces and today we only made about 4. In the design process, once we are happy with the proportions and profile of a specific piece, we spec it out and create a digital file then a wood hand mold. The mold is made out of coconut wood and cut by a CNC machine, then serves as a guide when the glass piece is on the pipe. It will be inserted into the mold one by one and then finished by hand. There is no way to control the thickness and finishing because it is a hand-process but it allows us to maintain the consistency of volume and geometry for the production.
We broke for lunch with Salvador wanting to take us to a place in the central part of Magdalena Etla where he said had the best mole in Oaxaca, so of course we had to investigate. We headed to Restaurante Colon Etla and ordered empanadas rojas, tostadas Oaxacan and pollo con mole. The mole was insane, no idea how many ingredients or prep time on it but I was obliged to hug the cooks in the kitchen, it was so good!
We returned to the studio to finish prototypes for portraits of the whole team before we left and said our goodbyes for now. The team put in a huge effort over the last 2 days to get us some very special pieces and their lead glass blower Aurturo was amazing working with me and Salvador to refine the prices to be exactly what I wanted. I can't overstate how appreciated their patience and hard work were.
We headed back to Hotel Azul to drop off our stuff and headed to Casa Oaxaca for dinner, before off to bed to get some rest for our 4:30AM wake up call the next morning where we would head to Monterrey to see Libby, the commercial glass partner in our Mexico project. Bright and early!