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» 13 Jul 2009

Environmental awareness The Glass Gallery at Phoenix is committed to protecting the environment as much as possible during its manufacturing process. To this end the glass used is one hundred percent recycled, coming mainly from Coke and Fanta bottles produced by Phoenix Beverages Ltd. which is the Gallery's parent company.

Similarly, from 2006 the Gallery replaced diesel with cooking oil as the fuel to power its furnace. It did so by partnering with Kentucky Fried Chicken and many of the hotels around the island, collecting their unwanted, used vegetable oil. Even old newspapers
from Le Mauricien Ltd. are put to ood use, as when soaked in water they are perfect for lightly ooling the molten glass to form a malleable outer shell. It's all in the hands!

One of the most interesting features of the Gallery is the "Hands of Fame" museum. Started in 2006, it attracts over sixty thousand visitors per year and displays
the hand casts of famous people who have visited Mauritius. The hands are categorised into groups uch as actors, musicians, writers and sports personalities and some
of the names you will see include jorn Borg, Ernie Els, Richard Branson, Archbishop Desmond utu, Francis Cabrel and Mika Hakkinen.

Two casts are made of each hand, one for the museum and one which is auctioned at a later ate to raise funds for the Helping Hands Initiative. Some of these hands have sold for as much as wenty thousand rupees and one hundred percent of the proceeds
go to the Initiative. Each year the harity selects a worthy cause or causes to donate funds to and in pril 2009 they gave two hundred thousand rupees each to the
Soroptimist's Afternoon Children's are Centre at Camp-Le Vieux and the Shelter for Children n Distress Trust Fund. Glassy eyed Because the glass is "cooked" at
the relatively low temperature of welve hundred degrees centigrade - usually thirteen hundred degrees is used - the glass produced contains small air bubbles, which gives it a distinct character and looks rather attractive.Green coloured glass is obtained expediently through the recycling of "Sprite" bottles but the colouring remains in the furnace for some time afterwards.

The shop at the Glass Gallery has a huge range of original and handmade items for sale at very competitive prices, indeed I was glassy eyed at the variety on offer.
Articles range from ornaments such as glass dodos to items of a more practical nature such as ampshades, vases and ash trays. I  was particularly impressed with some of the unique wine glasses on offer and was kicking myself for not bringing more money

It might interest you to know that the Glass Gallery is quite prepared to take orders for custom made items and are currently making beautiful and intricate stained glass window panels for various clients.The effect is reminiscent of the widows you might
see in churches and cathedrals and the whole process is hand crafted with great care and precision. The guided tour was extremely interesting, taking about an hour, and while not currently available to the public it will be in the near future. Indeed, as much
as there is on offer,much more is lanned and I would advise anyone, locals and tourists alike to take the time to visit the place.


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