Christopher Radko Fine
hand crafted blown glass ornaments in turn of the century style.
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Since 1986, Christopher Radko has devoted
himself to restoring magic, heart and fine craftsmanship to holiday celebrations
and it all began with a family calamity. His family’s Christmas centered
around a 14-foot tree filled with glass ornaments collected by three
generations. In 1984, the tree crashed to the floor one week before the holiday
shattering almost every ornament. Also lost were many cherished memories and family traditions,
but Christopher was determined to restore them.
Visiting relatives in
Europe, Christopher found a glass-blower eager to revive the art of his great-grandfathers, dormant
since the turn of the century. Christopher encourage him to recover their
antique ornament molds, supplied him with designs from his own imagination, and
sold the finished product door to door in New York City. Since his first collection
i ~f 50 ornaments in 1986, Christopher has created more than 5,000 designs. From
the lone craftsman who made the first ornaments, Christopher’s business has
grown to employ more than 3,000 people in cottage workshops in Poland, Germany,
Italy and the Czech Republic.
Each of Christopher’s glass ornaments is
made entirely by hand, using techniques dating back to the l8OO’s — a
process that requires seven days to produce a single ornament! The ornaments are
mouth-blown in tempered glass for durability, lined with silver for luminescence
and painted with loving care in every intricate detail. The delicate lashes on
each face, for example, are hand-painted by Christopher’s famous “eyelash
lady.” These personalized touches create the charming variations in each
ornament that make it a one-of-a-kind heirloom.
The artistry of Christopher Radko was borne
of a desire to bridge warm memories of holidays past with new traditions for
today. Christopher takes pride in the way his creations connect families and
friends, young and old, one ornament at a time. Radiant with sparkle and a glow
from within, his designs are not just decorations. They are works of heart!
The Creation Process
Day 1: A Glass Rod Is Heated Before
Being Blown Into The Mother Mold.
Once Christopher conceives a design, it is
submitted to a carver who works a model from clay or plaster.
The carver then gives the approved piece to a
mold maker. Using a Renaissance-era technique, a sand-cast mold is created from
molten metal. This becomes the mother mold, and the ornament-making process can
On the first day of production, the
glassblower creates the ornament using clear tempered glass, used by Christopher
Radko for its strength. Other ornament makers have used lower-grade glass,
increasing the risk of breakage. Thus there is a noticeable difference in the
weight of a Radko ornament, making it more solid to the touch.
Day 1: The Molded Glass Is Reheated
And Tempered For Durability.
On the second day, the ornament is injected
with liquid silver, another process clone by hand. The silvering gives the
ornaments their luminescence and, once again, sets them apart from other glass
On the third day, the base coat of matte
lacquer is hand-applied: the white on a snowman, for instance, or the red on a
Santa. The following day, a second application of lacquer adds the ornament’s
other vivid colors.
Day 4: Colored Lacquers Are Applied
Over The Matte-Finish Base Coat.
Day five, fine details like the seeds on a
strawberry are hand-painted. With painstaking care, artisans take the ornaments
from the realm of decorations to pure works of art.
Day 5: Fine Details Are
On the sixth day, a dusting of glitter is
applied to give extra sparkle; and on the final day, the finishing touches of
placing the customized cap on the ornament, tagging, and packing the design for
shipment are completed. The ornament is on its way to becoming part of your own
FINE ORNAMENT CARE
Christopher Radko uses organic, water-based paints for his
ornaments, so never use water, soap or solvents to clean them. Simply using a
feather duster will preserve their sparkle and luster. Avoid displaying them
indirect sunlight, as some pigments may fade. Store ornaments in a dry, dark
place, avoiding humidity, dampness or extreme temperatures.