Photo story about Christmas tree toys in Abkhazia Stella Adleyba, JAMnews, Sukhum

This small factory was opened in Sukhum five years ago. Each and every Christmas tree toy here is handcrafted by glassblowers and artists.

The ornaments are blown from this glass. It's special. Medical utensils, flasks, tubes, as well as the Christmas baubles, are made of it. The size of a bauble depends on the pipe diameter.

After a Christmas bauble is blown it is sent to another workshop, where it is cooled and painted.

Initially, any bauble has this kind of ‘tail’ which is cut off only when the toy is all ready. The glass-blown baubles are 50-150mm in diameter. Glassworkers blow about 100-150 toys per shift.

Then would-be Christmas baubles are painted and decorated.

Asida and Dmitry are the chief artists. Dmitry is a trained artist, but he says his profession is not particularly profitable. Which is why he uses his skills to make toys.

As for Asida, her story is quite unusual. She is a German language teacher. Once she came to the factory to place an order for some Christmas ornaments for her children. She became interested in the toy-making process so much that she decided to stay here.

“I have learned everything on the job. I have two children and we would often craft things ourselves,” said Asida.

“I like my job very much, but at the end of a working day we are each like a Christmas toy, covered in glitter,” said Asida.

This workshop produces not only Christmas ornaments, but also cushions with photo prints, T-shirts, candles and many other items. According to Daur Gumba, the CEO, it’s a rather profitable business. Interestingly, Daur Gumba holds a degree in history.
"Well, let me put it this way - even cultivating cabbage may be profitable, but whatever you do requires hard work. Sometimes people decide to start producing Christmas ornaments, they buy the necessary equipment only to end up asking me to purchase it a year later. If a person has neither skills no desire to do something themselves, then this equipment is just a useless piece of steel,” said Daur.

Drawing on a spherical object is a lot more difficult than on a flat canvas. It may take 24 hours to produce one Christmas bauble.

But sometimes it can be enough to write names and the upcoming year in golden paint, sprinkle some glitter on it and that’s it.

The starting price of a bauble made at the factory is about $2,5. It increases when put on sale.

It takes more time to produce souvenir baubles featuring the national flag and emblem. Therefore they are more expensive, costing $12 and more.
This Christmas bauble with the Abkhaz Santa is the artisans’ trademark.
Created By
JAMnews Caucasus


Stella Adleyba, JAMnews

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