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Italian Glass Ornament with Nativity (2011)
About 4 in. (10 cm.) tall
Photograph by Blair Clark
Italian glass Christmas ornaments are blown by mouth using clear glass tubes heated over a gas flame. They are formed by hand while the glass is molten, rather than by using molds. Next, the interior is coated with a liquid silver solution to make the ornament reflective and shiny. Then the meticulous hand painting begins, followed by the glitter, the angel hair, and the careful gluing in place of the tiny nativity figures. The entire process may take a week. The result is quite lightweight, elegant, and perfect for a Christmas tree.
Curled Wood Nativity Ornament from Germany (1960S)
3 in. (7 cm.) tall
Photograp h by Blair Clark
The special skill of cur ling wood calls for a ver y sharp tool, the right kind of wood, and lots of experience. This skill is a specialty of the Erzgebirge, a world-famous mountainous region south of Dresden along the Czech border. To make the ornament, the cur ls of wood were glued together to make a frame for the tiny nativity figures and a star. This delicate ornament was in the estate of a nativity collector.