Unique glass-blowing workshop in Crete

Tzompanakis Blow Glass – Art Of Living is a cultural landmark that preserves an amazing art of glass making. So far, this is the only workshop of such type known to us in Crete. There is also an exhibition of colored and decorated blown glass: glasses, lamps and chandeliers, which shapes and colors are reminiscent of the rich nature and colors of Crete. You will have a great opportunity to purchase any product that is presented there.

The workshop was opened by Andreas Tzompanakis 35 years ago, in 1986, in his home village of Kokkino Chorio. Master Andreas is under 70 years old. This work with glass is his passion throughout the life. Glass-blowing craft requires not only technical knowledge and great professional experience but also a talent of artist. Andreas and his two glassblowing assistants are a well-trained team. They understand each other without words. In their precise movements, they are akin to dancers; and unique works of art are gradually born from glass in the heat of the furnace. Glassblowers can be seen at work from 8 am to 3 pm every day (except Monday).

The small workshop and furnace evolved over time into a semi-industrial one with a larger and modern melting furnace.

Where do the craftsmen get their glass from?

Until 1992, Andreas used common industrial raw materials for his manufacture: quartz sand, sodium sulfate, lime, soda etc. Now only old bottles serve as raw materials, a mountain of which always lies in the technical yard of the workshop. Separate waste collection has been introduced in Crete, as well as throughout Greece. Large yellow bins are used to collect waste glass. The bottles are sorted, washed, broken and melted in an oven at a temperature of 1400-1500°C for 8 hours. Then the resulting mass is cooled to 1150-1200°C for 3 hours. The further step—blowing: the birth of a glass product when only the master knows all modes and additives which are his secrets: how and when something can be done with molten glass. If finished, the piece will be removed from the tube and slowly cooled to 150°C over several hours. Only subsequent quality control will show whether the work of art is flawless.

Traveling along the northern coast of Crete between Rethymno and Chania, be sure to stop by village of Kokkino Chorio in the municipality of Apokoronas where are this interesting workshop and its exhibition hall in a beautiful garden. Google Maps GPS coordinates: 35.45072, 24.22522.

If you’re lucky and their garden tavern is open, you can enjoy fine food and wine in their vineyard gazebo. Visit them more often to see new developments. You will always find there a beautiful piece of colored glass for yourself as a reminiscent of the bright colors of Crete.

More information about the workshop and the latest masterpieces: