The last ten years have not been kind to Mexico’s glass blowing communities. Increased operation costs and competition from global brands has seen over 75 per cent of the country’s studios close their doors while the remaining 25 per cent are struggling to keep them open.
Determined that their community won’t meet the same fate, Studio Xaquixe, an artisan glass-blowing collective tucked away in the hills of Eastern Oaxaca, have teamed with luxury whisky brand Chivas Regal and social entrepreneurs Apolis to kick start a new social initiative that will secure the future of their community.
Raan and Shea Parton of Apolis, a socially motivated lifestyle brand who are experts in bridging commerce and economic development, made the connection between Chivas Regal and Xaquixe when the former approached them to design a new set of glass tumblers for its ‘Art of Hosting’ gift pack.
Seeing a greater potential in the project, Apolis and Chivas teamed up to donate the surplus glass produced during the manufacturing of the tumblers to Studio Xaquixe’s 380 sq m recycled glassblowing facility. Here, a community of 14 artisans transform the scrap glass into new pieces, which so far encompass a carafe and drinking glass, a scented candle and vase, all designed by Apolis. Then, using Apolis’s Global Citizen Exchange platform, the new glassware is sold online across the globe.
‘With the invaluable support from Chivas and Apolis our carefully-crafted products have the opportunity to be globally showcased; reaching new markets, but most importantly, inspiring people that are eager for change,’ says Salvador Pulido, a spokesman for the Studio Xaquixe Collective. ‘A hand-blown item from Oaxaca demonstrates that glassware can be sustainable, beautiful and created in the most unexpected places.’