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GLASSWARE: Turning up the Heat with AKAM

AKAM Verrerie de Carthage is reviving the art of hand blown glass in Tunisia. Each piece is hand blown by the workshop’s artisans, who create beautiful yet functional shapes out of this noble material. AKAM teaches its apprentices this artistic technique so that they can eventually become master glassblowers.

The overall process of making hand blown glass uses four elements: EARTH, FIRE, AIR, WATER. AKAM shares with us their glassmaking process:

1 It all begins with a careful selection of products from the EARTH: sand, potassium, and sodium.

2 These primary materials are heated in an oven by FIRE at 1500°C, and fuse together into a syrupy mass.

3 By way of a metal rod, the artisan gathers a parison, or mass of molten glass, from the oven, and blows AIR to create the first bubble.

4 With the help of a mold and constant blowing, the artisan creates the first form.

Molding the first form at AKAM in August 2017.

5 WATER is always present for cooling the molten glass, or to provide a thermic shock that creates the crackled motif for some of the glass styles.

6 Once the form is created, the glass in placed in an oven for reheating (or cooling) in order to gradually remove the tensions in the glass following the molding and reheating.

The cooling oven at AKAM in August 2017.

7 Each glass piece is stamped by hand with AKAM’s mark to certify its authenticity.

AKAM’s stamp.

“This process requires careful movements, with no mechanical intervention, in the ambient heat of the ovens. Before arriving to your home, our glassware has passed through many expert hands and translates this love of craftsmanship.” Khaled Azaiez, Akam founder.

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