this time heading for Sayla in Gujarat, via The Glass Works,
and I have to admit I was very excited about this. It seems
to have taken years to track down one place that blows
glass which is used for shisha
hidden down a lane, here it is at last
we had to phone ahead to get permission to call and were greeted by
the son of the owner who was very nice. His father was relaxing on
a charpoi (day bed) in a nice sunny area between the factory and the
'reception area'. Shoes off. Shoes on again to enter. We asked if
we could take photos. Father became more than irate, and his son
apologised. My undercover photographer managed to get one
shot, using his camera behind his back! Perhaps we were thought
to be industrial spies?!! The factory was quiet, no blasted furnaces
or glass blowers hard at work.
so what we have here is a pile of blue molten glass, broken
in to lumps - top right is the edge of the kiln
A duffer's guide to glass making
You need silica sand to which is added sodium carbonate and calcium oxide. Lead oxide
can be added depending on the intended purpose - it produces sparkle. Other chemical are included to produce colour
Place the mixture in a heat resistant crucible. The mixture will melt at temperature ranging from 1500 to 2500 c. Stir to remove bubbles. At this stage I believe the molten glass is placed in a large mold and broken up when cold. A method used by Egyptians.
As far as I can make out, the factory only goes into production when orders are placed. The kiln would be fired up, a selected lump of glass, taken from one of the piles of different colours, heated up in a small crucible and then blown; coloured and mirrored glass for inlay or mosaic work. To produce mirror glass, it is first blown, then melted zinc is poured inside. For shisha it is sold in big pieces to be cut up elsewhere.
the chimney which must roar out smoke when in full production
These little sparkly mirrors have fascinated me for a very long time! Over the years I have been told that they are not made any more, probably because the only mirrors available in the UK were the thick machine cut embroidery mirrors. This set me off on the trial. Trying to source coloured shisha the general opinion was they only appear if the firing has gone wrong. Truth to tell, the glass is coloured, zinc added. Result coloured mirror glass.
Researching the history of shisha on Google or in books comes up with the same information, some of which I now question. Enough!
at the end of our visit the son gave me two big pieces of silver and gold mirror glass
on the road to Sayla
ladies bringing home feed for their cattle
bunches of bamboo stalks being sold by the road side
and they do fantastic flags
seen flying at temples large and small
We arrived at Sayla as the sun set. It had been a long and interesting day.
The Old Bell Guest House shone like a beacon through the jungly garden. Time for slurps, and a few days of relaxation.