While we were on vacation in Jordan, we took the kids to Kan Zaman (Which translates to Once Upon a Time) to watch the Sandman design his fragile amazing glass bottles with the most beautiful colored sand (some dyed and some natural) eat some traditional food, sit on Bedouin coaches and listen to Arabic music.
At the Sandman, every glass bottle was blown by a glass artist at that place and I so wanted to the kids to watch him doing his thing but unfortunately for them and I, they were renovating and relocating the whole workshop that we were unable to watch such an amazing skill.
Luckily for us though, the talented Sandman was there. He was amazingly patient with the kids showing them every step carefully for them to see how he made the camels and the hills. The kids were glued to his side watching his every move.
I tried to snap pictures of every step he took and I hope that you will be able to see how he did it.
Depending on whether the customer would like a name on the bottle, the Sandman draws (upside down) the name with glue from a syringe. He then puts some black sand and shakes the bottle for the sand to stick to the glue and the customer would see the word clearly.
Then he pours in some sand on the bottom of the glass and some black sand to form two small bumps... he then pushes some black sand with a pin like tool to form the camel legs.
Can you see the legs of the camel?
The camel starts to emerge once the Sandman pours a little more black sand on top to finish off the hump, the neck and the head. He pushes the sand and plays with it from side to side until he creates the rest of the animal. I still could not figure out exactly how he did it but he had such quick and gentle hands that made it look so easy.
He moved the bottle from side to side when he poured the sand for the hills... but that is all I know...
I have no idea how in the world he did it... but notice the sun, the streaks in the mountains... and the distant bird on the left hand side close to the sun.
The last step is to stop the sand from escaping... he puts a piece of play-dough thing that hardens later keeping the sand bottle the way it is for years.
I asked the Sandman about the person who taught him this skill and whether it ran in the family... or if it was a family business... He told me that his whole family was skilled and creative but they all did other things.... he taught himself how to do such a beautiful thing with much observation and practice.
The kids were not the only ones who enjoyed watching this talented man... I was too... I had always loved watching such work... Everywhere you go in Jordan, be it to Petra, Jerash or Aqaba, you would find a few men or women sitting around making those beautiful sand bottles.
There are other types of sand drawings... the carpet is one of my favorite but the Sandman said that it takes him much longer to make and if I had time, he could show me... unfortunately, the food had arrived, we had to eat and get going before my daughter felt tired.
Here are the kids watching the Sandman's every move.... I ended up making two for my son and daughter with their names in Arabic and English... and also taking some gifts for our friends back in Bangkok.