“My dream is to take our creations to different parts of the world so that people can know and enjoy, along with us, the beauty of our country reflected in our pieces.”
“My name is Daniel Castillo and I work with my wife Gretel to create jewelry made with fused glass. We ventured into jewelry a long time ago, making silver jewelry for several years. Due to the saturation of the silver jewelry market, several businesses closed their doors to us because they didn’t want to accept more of our jewelry.
“From there, we got the idea to create something new, which is how we developed our fused glass jewelry. I’ve always liked fused glass and learned various techniques like boiled glass, handling hot glass, lost wax molds, enamels, blown glass, etc. Little by little, I managed to develop my own methods, which are the mix of techniques I now use.
“The biggest challenge has been creating something original, and so it occurred to us to mix the technique we developed with Mexican-style embroideries to make the beauty of Mexican art known. We’re really proud of our creations and it has been very satisfying.
“I consider our biggest inspiration to be the idea of transcending a thought, tradition or art form from our country. The pieces are inspired from the traditions and art of Mexican communities, each of which is an iconographic representation of Mexican handcrafts.
“Every day, we put in a lot of effort and hard work to make progress with our venture. Starting to open new doors during these times can sometimes be difficult, but this venture has given me the opportunity to be with my family, and that’s been worth it. The most difficult moments have involved lack of funds, especially with the challenges in developing and introducing a new creation. Bit by bit we’ve been growing and forging new paths for ourselves.
“The most important material in crafting our creations is the glass, which is easily handled with the right tools. It’s also necessary to have a kiln. All of the glass we use is recycled from donations, waste or broken pieces, which probably don’t have another use, but for me, even the smallest ones are very useful.
“The process includes cleaning and cutting the glass, heating it to 800 degrees Celsius, cutting the image once it’s cooled, sticking it to the glass with resin and covering it to protect it. Finally, the silver parts are adhered and it’s cleaned.
“I’ve had a lot of gratifying moments being able to teach a little of what I know. I don’t teach regularly, only to people who work with me and assist me in the crafting process, although I’ve had the opportunity to work with some schools using students’ art work. We shape the children’s drawings into charms or rings and earrings and it’s very gratifying to see the end result.
“In my family, I create and design while my wife is in charge of sales and finding clients. My art helps two single mothers who help us by crafting jewelry at home so they can look after their families as well. My future plans include perfecting my craft, along with the methods of creation and distribution. My dream is to take our creations to different parts of the world so that people can know and enjoy, along with us, the beauty of our country reflected in our pieces.”