ARTISANAL GLASS BLOWERS OF KENYA
ARTISANAL GLASS BLOWERS OF KENYA
From a fiery furnace of molten bottles and broken windowpanes, craftsmen at on the edge ofNairobi National Park gather globules of 1,100°celsius liquid glass. Attached to the end of a long metal blow pole, they begin to gently twist and turn, blowing through the hollow pipe to create a bubble in the end of the burning ball. Using a variety of wooden and metal tools, including innovations of their own making, the glass blowers shape the liquid glass into stunning and highly unique designs, from goblets, champagne flutes and vases to bespoke chandelier commissions containing over 1,000 individual pieces of hand-blown glass.
Watching a glass blowing demonstration at Kitengela (or having a go yourself) is a fascinating experience. Founded in 1991 by entrepreneur Anselm Croze, Kitengela Hot Glass began as a tiny family business on the outskirts of Nairobi as East Africa’s first glassblowing company. It remains in the same stunning location today overlooking Nairobi National Park, where it employs a team of skilled local craftsmen. Trained by Anselm himself alongside an assortment of expert visiting glassblowers from around the world, the Kitengela glass blowers are exceptionally talented in this ancient and magical art and have grown to develop their own unique style.
Glass is one of the world’s oldest and most versatile man-made materials. It is also 100% recyclable.
We love Kitengela Hot Glass due to its passion for sustainability and zero waste policy. Every single product they create is made from one hundred percent recycled glass, salvaged from the local building industry. 150 kilograms of salvaged glass is melted a day using steam power and recycled engine oil. Their stunning creations are then packaged in old newspaper and boxes to begin a new life. As well as creating the kind of circular economy that our planet needs more of, Kitengela also support a range of local initiatives they believe passionately in, from empowering young men who’ve been through the Kenyan prison system to forest conservation in the Kenyan highlands.
Over the years, more than 2,000 tonnes of scrap window and bottle glass has been given new life by Kitengela Hot Glass.
As well as their sustainability, we also love the bespoke nature of Kitengela’s beautiful creations. No two glasses are the same. Bubbles, varying thicknesses and the tool marks of each creator give every piece a unique character. This is down to the handblown nature of Kitengela’s glassware but also due to working with recycled glass which stiffens more quickly, meaning the artisans must work at speed.
Here at our Giraffe Manor Shop , we are excited to launch a brand-new glassware range, handblown in Kenya by Kitengela artisans and adorned by our women’s beading group. Unconventional, charmingly Kenyan and totally bespoke, each piece oozes personality. Our Beaded Masai White Wine Glasses , Tall Oil Bottle and Small Oil Bottle are available in four colour combinations, each inspired by a special place at one of The The Safari Collection’s properties. Calming greens represent the lush leafy orchid house at Giraffe Manor , pastel shades remind us of the Sand River at Sala’s Camp through the Masai Mara, vibrant brights take us up north to the Samburu region of Sasaab and cool blues and greens transport us to the mountain sanctuary of Solio Lodge .
Shop our collection of beautiful beaded glassware now.