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Elena Herrera

Artisan Organization: Elena Herrera

Country: Costa Rica

"I was born in Alajuela, Costa Rica, and I work with blown glass and art glass. "In 1991, I was studying and I wanted to find a part-time job to pay my tuition. I was fortunate to meet a foreigner who taught me to work with glass.

"I found a business that focused on glass, and was able to get a job there. The process was filled with challenges. I had many companions at work who were laid off because they couldn't master the craft. I was astonished to find I was the only employee they kept on.

"That's when I realized I'd been blessed with a special gift. May people recognize my work and I'm able to craft it without tools. I decided to begin creating my own designs.

"Little by little, I became skilled as an artisan. It wasn't easy because, when you work in a business, it's tough to start out from zero to work on your own. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to find clients of my own. But the opposite happened.

"I make each design a special one. No molds are used to craft them so, if I make 100 alike, no two are ever identical and each one has something that distinguishes it.

"My dream is to have a solid workshop that can grow. I also teach as many people in my community that I can, so they can learn the craft and earn an income to support their families. I want to make my country known and show my designs all over the world.""