Glass is magic: Xaquixe
Video by: Bill Johnson Stories
In this video we are introduced to Christian Thornton, a talented glass artist with a passion for working with this mesmerizing material. Christian shares his journey and deep connection to glass, highlighting its limitless possibilities and the addictive nature of its transformative qualities.
The video begins with Christian’s background, mentioning his father’s military career that led them to various places. While in Spokane, Christian discovered his love for heavy metal rock and played the guitar. To earn extra money, he took a job at a stained glass studio, which sparked his fascination with glass.
Upon graduating from high school, Christian ventured to New York City to work and continued his exploration of glass art. He joined Urban Glass in Brooklyn and later worked in conservation at the Metropolitan Museum. However, a significant turning point in his life occurred when he decided to leave New York after the tragic events of September 11, 2001. He lost a close friend who was a firefighter in lower Manhattan during the World Trade Center attack. Christian opted to move elsewhere and found himself drawn to the Virgin Islands.
In the Virgin Islands, Christian received an invitation to explore the use of recycled glass in glass blowing, which ultimately shaped the direction of his career. He emphasizes the importance of sustainable practices, such as recycling glass and utilizing alternative energy sources like vegetable oil. Christian’s dedication to sustainability extends to anaerobic digestion, where waste materials are transformed into gas and fertilizer for agricultural purposes.
Throughout his artistic journey, Christian has worked under the guidance of several mentors, particularly Francisco Toledo, a renowned glass artist and one of his closest friends. Toledo challenged Christian’s skills and encouraged him to push the boundaries of what glass can achieve.
Christian leads a team of dedicated individuals in his studio, Xaquixe, in Oaxaca, some of whom have been with him for more than a decade. They form a close-knit family, collaborating on projects and supporting each other. He acknowledges the fragility of glass as a medium, understanding that unforeseen accidents can happen, yet recognizing its potential longevity that can span thousands of years.
The video touches on the studio’s resilience during difficult times, such as the social protests in Oaxaca in 2006. Christian discusses the importance of adaptability and diversification in sustaining their business. They explore various avenues beyond glass production, including waste filtration, energy generation, and even producing mezcal. By embracing multiple roles and possibilities, they strive to create a more stable and sustainable organization.
Christian concludes by emphasizing the importance of continuous learning and living in the present moment. He recognizes that despite feeling knowledgeable, there is always more to discover and new skills to acquire.
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