Mara, Glass and Pottery Merchant - 5" Fontanini®
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Mara came from a family of glassmakers who had practiced their trade for generations. Each piece began with molten glass strings wrapped around a clay core. It would be smoothed and leveled by rolling the glass-covered core on a flat stone. A tool would then be used to shape the its feet and rim. Once cooled, the clay was removed to finish the container. Mara’s family produced sturdy and functional designs; but to Mara they were lacking in beauty. 


Only sons were trained in glass-making; but Mara was fascinated by glass colors. Compounds in varying amounts and combinations could create shades of yellow, green, blue, purple and pink. Mara studied the colors and worked with her brothers to practice coloring glass. Whenever Mara’s results were particularly outstanding, she would save the components with a scrap piece of glass. She hoped one day her family would want to create something special; and when they did, Mara would be ready with a palette of colors. 


When Caesar Augustus ordered citizens to return to their birthplaces for the Census, Mara and her family returned to Bethlehem. There, she and her family found shelter in the home of Hirah, Bethlehem’s Glass Blower. Mara’s father had studied glass-making with Hirah’s father and grandfather and Hirah warmly welcomed them.


Mara was fascinated by Hirah’s glassmaking abilities. While her father and brothers had no interest in Hirah’s innovations; Mara would listen endlessly as Hirah talked. His designs were beautifully constructed – elegant and graceful; but Mara knew they could be more. Hirah focused on shape and structure. The colors of his pieces were happy accidents resulting from the components naturally occurring in his raw materials.


On the day Mara’s family was to return home, Hirah’s neighbor shared a story of shepherds seeing angels and of a Savior in Bethlehem’s stable. Hirah shared the amazing news with Mara’s family. Mara’s father and brothers raced to the stable with a gift of brilliantly hued glass beads. Hirah knew he too would bring a gift; but he had not decided what it would be. Hirah went to his workshop and there he met Mara. She had heard news and she too had been thinking of a gift. Mara had the elements that had created her most brilliant glass colors. She asked if Hirah would use them in a gift for the Baby Jesus. Hirah had never seen such colors, and he quickly went to work. Typically when Hirah worked he would concentrate entirely on the glass, but this time he found himself thinking more about his father, Mara and the future. As he finished his creation, he was surprised to discover that it looked similar to his father’s work but also very much like the best of all that Hirah was capable. At the same time it was entirely new thanks to the Mara’s colors. Together, Mara and Hirah, brought their gift to the Baby Jesus. Both knew in their hearts that this was the start of a wonderful life together ant that their beginning was a gift from the Christ Child.


  • Item #: 54057
  • Manufacturer: House Of Fontanini - Italy

Mara, Glass and Pottery Merchant - 5" Fontanini®

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