Koogle glassblowing business is located in Zagreb, on the western slopes of Medvednica, in Gornji Stenjevac. My grandfather, Ignac Križanić, started the glassblowing business in the Križanić family.
Immediately after the end of II. During World War II, in Gornji Stenjevac, there was the General Agricultural Cooperative Stenjevec with a plant on the property of the Junković manor. The cooperative, among other activities, was also engaged in glassblowing. At the beginning of the 1950s, in Gornji Stenjevac, almost every home-made house blew glass balls and took them to the Cooperative for purchase. Deda Nacek also made beads at home, and he was employed by the Cooperative, as one of only ten glassblowers. So, after a working day in the Cooperative, he continued to blow glass balls at home. Ignac was said to be the best master at blowing large balls, because they were all the same size and perfectly round.
Clean and non intrusive
Ignac worked in the Cooperative until its dissolution, in the late 1960s, and continued to work independently at home. After the disintegration of the Cooperative, home crafts in Gornji Stenjevac were slowly extinguished, while the glass-blowing business of the Križanić family has continued to operate to this day. My dad, Josip Križanić, took over the business, and Ignac, in the mid-1970s, switched to the mechanical production of Christmas jewelry made of plastic.
My dad with his dad learned to blow glass as a high school student, and in addition to his son, Ignac also taught glassblowing skills to his wife, my grandmother, Marica Križanić, and the whole family diligently made Christmas jewelry throughout the year. My dad taught me this skill. Even today, many people in Zagreb keep glass pine decorations made in our workshop and before Christmas, with special care and nostalgia, they take them out of the boxes and recreate the Christmas magic.
How do we work?
From the clear glass tube from which the balls are made to the final product packed in a cardboard box, each ball needs to be “transferred” exactly 11 times from hand to hand, which speaks of the complexity of the process that takes time and patience.
From the glass tubes that melt on the burner, small ampoules are made, from which balls or some other shapes are later blown.
This is me, Martina! I was born in Zagreb and is an art historian and ethnologist and cultural anthropologist by profession.
For three generations we have been “blowing” balls and maintaining a family tradition, started by my grandfather in the 1950s, and my father passed on his passion for glassblowing to me, just as his father did.
I have been making balls and Christmas jewelry since I was a child, and a couple of years ago, with my dad’s help, I tried my hand at production. It takes a lot of time and perseverance to learn the art of blowing glass. It is not easy, I must admit, but with hard work, the results are visible. The need for the constant presence of mentors, teachers, parents, is one of the reasons that glassblowing crafts are a family tradition.
I enjoyed and mesmerizingly watched my grandfather and father create a fragile and beautiful object with ease from the liquid mass.
I don’t know if I’m happier making glass balls or later finishing and combination of materials. The play of fire and glass creates magic, and working in a glassblowing workshop has a cathartic effect on me. For me, glass has always been one of the most wonderful materials from which it is possible to obtain an object of high aesthetic value.
For me, Christmas lasts 365 days a year and that’s why I think I have the best job in the world! Welcome to my world!