Susan’s Christmas Shop has been selling the mouth blown, hand painted glass ornaments by Old World Christmas for over 40 years. We just received an enormous shipment of Old World ornaments, including the popular Roadrunner, the state bird of New Mexico, the Red Chiles, the Turquoise Dias de los Muertos Skull, the Buffalo, and colorful Cowboy and Cowgirl Boots. We have a much larger selection in the shop. If you do not see what you are looking for, call or email us.
Our newest glass ornament for 2017!
The Church of the Holy Faith on East Palace Avenue is the oldest Episcopal Church in New Mexico. It is known for its beautiful nineteenth century leaded glass windows in the sanctuary. The most gorgeous window of the church is the Good Shepherd window. Originally this window was above the altar and the church was called The Church of the Good Shepherd. Later, the church was enlarged by Santa Fe architect John Gaw Meem. The window was moved to one side and church became The Church of the Holy Faith, the translation of Santa Fe in English.
This glass replica of The Church of The Holy Faith was created in Poland. A clay model was sculpted to create a mold. The mold was used to blow a glass ornament with the breath of a skilled glass blower. The resulting clear glass shape was silvered inside with a liquid silver. Artists painted the outside of the ornament. Finally, a cap was inserted. It takes almost a week to make one, every step by hand. Ten percent of the sales price will de donated to The Church of the Holy Faith in Santa Fe.
You can order your Holy Faith glass ornament at this link.
The upcoming Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta always brings lots of people to Santa Fe. The huge hot air balloons rise at dawn above Albuquerque, inspiring awe in the people on the ground. After that, many visitors drive to Santa Fe for lunch at The Shed and a visit to my shop. Already we are selling scores of glass hot air balloons.
Customers tell us how happy are the faces of those who see the balloons. Even babies like them. Tiny Lillian was enchanted with our window. Can’t make it to the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta? You can still have a gorgeous glass balloon.
Mouth blown, hand painted Glass Christmas ornaments have been a specialty at Susan’s Christmas Shop for 38 years, but for those who do not know how they are made, here is a description. I hope it will add to the pleasure you have in choosing them and in using them each year on your Christmas tree.
The first simple glass Christmas ornaments were made in cottages in Lauscha, which is located in eastern Germany. Now the blowing is done in modern factories. Here is a photo I took when I was visiting a German glass blowing factory, IngeGlas. In my opinion, it is the premier German glass ornament business, and both sides of the family have been in the glass business since the 1500’s.
The glass this glass blower is blowing is clear. While the glass is molten, he uses a foot pedal to close over the soft glass bubble. When it is removed from the flame, the glass cools quickly, but it is completely clear at this point. So the glass-blower places the softened glass into a mold, places the open end of the glass tube in his mouth, and then blows steadily to force the softened glass into all the crevices of the mold.
The clear glass shape is then set in sand to cool, and it is given a full day of rest before it is silvered. The long pike is still attached. A liquid silver solution is poured down the neck of the pike. Then it is stirred beneath very hot liquid for several minutes. This causes the silver to stick to the glass on the inside. Now the glass is reflective, like a mirror, and it will catch light and shine on your Christmas tree, but it could use a little color.
The pike continues its usefulness as a handle when the light weight ornament is dipped into a base coat of paint.
The colors are painted by hand, one color at a time. The pike serves as a handle.
When the painting is complete, the pike is cut and removed and the cap is inserted so that the ornament can be hung. The process from beginning to end takes a week to complete, every step by hand.
Hope you enjoyed!
Susan Topp Weber
October will soon be here. In Albuquerque that means the famous Hot Air Balloon Festival. Hundreds of colorful hot air balloons fill the sky at dawn, providing an amazing spectacle. This Sunday I’ll be in Albuquerque myself, and I invite you to join me at Bookworks at 3:00 PM. Bookworks is a popular local independent bookstore in the scenic north valley of Albuquerque at 4022 North Rio Grande Boulevard NW.
I will give a slide show and talk about my new book, Susan’s Christmas Shop. I will sign copies of all my books. I hope to see you there, as a friendly face in the audience. If you live too far away to be there, I’ll share with you, in this letter, a story I plan to tell Sunday, a story of how I got started with Christmas ornaments.
It was 1969. I was a young housewife with a toddler and a baby. We lived in low rent housing close to the University of New Mexico, where my husband was in graduate school. The apartments had a building where informal classes could be held. I heard that the YWCA was holding classes there, so I put my baby boy in a red wagon and held my toddler daughter’s hand as we walked to the center. A craft class was being offered, but the tuition was out of my reach. As I started to pull my red wagon back to my apartment, a woman from the YWCA said to me, “Wait. Would you be interested in this class?”
“Yes,” I said, “but I have no money.”
“If you have a few dollars to join the YWCA, I will pay your tuition,” she said.
I was amazed. “Why should you do this for me?” I asked.
“When I was young, someone helped me,” she said, “and I would like to pass that along.”
We had never met before that morning, and she had no way of knowing how this class would change my life. As soon as my hands touched the simple salt dough, I knew this was my medium. Within a month, I was selling my Christmas ornaments to a shop. Within a year I was accepted into a juried craft show. Soon I had eager collectors who bought everything I made.
I never saw the woman from the YWCA again, but because of her, I have an obligation to help younger artists. Susan’s Christmas Shop has given me a way to do this. This story and many, many more are in my new book, Susan’s Christmas Shop.
I sent my fond greetings to all of you, no matter where you are in this wide world. Wherever you are, I hope you enjoy the last flowers of the summer season and the changing leaves of autumn.
Your friend in Santa Fe,