In 2006 we opened a workshop that began to work with a material that is visually attractive, highly durable and widely available, but also depends on advanced technology, mastery and skill to process. The material is glass. Products of glass can keep their original brightness and glow for decades and even centuries and their properties are not diminished by time or variations in temperature and humidity. But taking advantage of these benefits is contingent on well designed and carefully controlled production processes, advanced and well-maintained equipment, and also the creativity of the artisans and their willingness to innovate.
We owe our success in mastering the art of making glass products to the motivation, diligence and hard work of its employees. At present, there are some 30 people on our staff, all highly inspired and excited to bring joy and beauty to people’s lives and to glorify the Lord by doing their work. Their first visible achievement was the completion of a set of windows of stained glass at the Church of the Reigning Icon of the Mother of God. Since then, the team has mastered the production of a great variety of other products of glass, mostly used as souvenirs. The most extensive collection of souvenirs includes figures of little angels, butterflies and insects, and forest wildlife and consists of over 220product categories with up to ten subcategories in each category.
Making some of the articles in this collection called for major improvements in the traditional glass fusing process. However, while the classical process produces tri-layered glass, with the thickness of each layer not exceeding 9 mm, the improved technology can process up to five glass layers up to mm of thickness. It took the team a lot of time and experimentation to find the temperature and duration to maximize colour diversity, as exemplified in some of its most technologically advanced product – the glass angel.
Glass souvenirs made at the workshop have won great popularity among guests and visitors to the Convent, and have a lot of appeal with the monastic sisters as souvenirs that they could distribute on international visits. Soon, orders for the products started to come in. The workshop has delivered its products to customers in the UK, Germany, Canada and elsewhere.
Icons are painted on thoroughly dried wooden planks covered with a coat of natural materials.