BY Annie Waterman | May 17, 2012
Rose Ann Hall Designs
In the small colonial village of San Miguel de Allende, Rose Ann Hall Designs produces time honored engraved glassware known as vidrio de pepita and gorgeous honey colored Santa Rosa church candles. All products are uniquely Mexican and true works of art. They are proud of saying that everything they manufacture is perfectly imperfect and consistent yet inconsistent, just like the artisans and employees who put their heart into the company.
Founder Rose Ann Hall has been importing Mexican glassware and crafts since the 1980s, and in 2003 she handed over the company to her son Charlie, who left his corporate job and moved all operations down to Mexico. This transition came with ease as Mr. Hall always felt at home in this vibrant and diverse country. From the age of five, he and his family would take annual trips there, and during those visits, the people and land captured his heart.
Charlie Hall was born with Moebius Syndrome, a rare congenital condition that left him with some facial paralysis and arms that end at his elbows. Relocating to Mexico became an opportunity for him to hire other disabled people because of his own difficulties. He had learned both empathy and compassion growing up and knew the challenges he faced in finding employment.
One fourth of the work force at Rose Ann Hall Designs are living with various handicaps. Hall states “Our newest employee has no arms and does everything with her feet.” His only requirement at the factories is “Do your best and have a good attitude … and be a part of a team. This makes everyone equal. If you do your best, give it all that you have, no matter what your abilities … everyone else accepts you! I wish that I had learned that in my younger years!” When asked what inspires Charlie Hall the most he answers, “My employees and the artists throughout Mexico. I find joy in watching the employees grow and change. Both those that are disabled and those who just need to learn more about life and how to live with what life brings!”
All workers have learned their skills on the job as employees of Exportadora Camino Norte, a company formed in 2005. The artisans carry on this centuries-old tradition of vidrio de pepita, which is the intricate engraving of glassware by using a grinding wheel to create the patterns and shapes. Hall explains “Our processes are forms of art that have almost been lost in recent years … both the vidrio de pepita glass carving, and the process of pouring candles … everything we do is not only hand-made, but very labor intensive."
The Santa Rosa church candles are unique, as they follow a tradition of hand pouring a blend of paraffin over wicks hooked onto a large circular candle wheel. High-grade paraffin is melted and tinted with amber to attain its luxurious and creamy glow. Once the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, the wicks are bathed in paraffin, one layer after another, until the desired width has been attained. The candles are then stamped in gold with the name of the patron saint of the workshop, Santa Rosa. These candles have been and still are used in Mexico to grace altars in churches and homes. They bring light to fiestas and last for hours on end.
Hall states, “One thing that life and business have in common are choices. Do you love what you do? Is it your passion, your dream? Do you just go with what life brings or do you live in both worlds? Rose Ann Hall lives in both worlds, while sharing one goal. We embrace the essence of handmade as our pride and the essence of individuality as our purpose. Everything we do is one layer, one stroke, one breath at a time.”
You can find Rose Ann Hall Designs at high-end retailers around the country, including their exquisite “Dancing Dots” glassware featured in the MOMA’s “Destination Mexico” collection.
For more information, please visit: http://www.roseannhalldesigns.com