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CZECH GLASS at the International Festival of Glass 2012

by Robert Bevan-Jones

 Wordsley Red House Glass Cone, Stourbridge

The famous Wordsley Red House Glass Cone, Stourbridge, now the centre of a museum of glass. This structure is one of the few surviving glass furnace cones in the UK. This photo shows the cone in the background, one of the last surviving glass furnace cones in existence in the UK. The water in the picture carried boats on a canal, this was originally built to take coal and sand to the furnaces.


On the 24th August 2012, the International Bienniale of glass again re-opened at several locations in Stourbridge, England. This festival features a huge range of events including the official presentation of the recreation of the famous Portland vase, a new contemporary glass display at Broadfield House glass museum, a record breaking 24 hour glassmaking attempt, including several significant local glass artists such as Vic Bamforth  http://www.vicbamforthglass.com/ and Allister Malcolm  http://www.allistermalcolm.com/

The Bienniale display of glass itself used a brand new gallery area at the Ruskin Trust centre http://ruskinglasscentre.co.uk/ in Amblecote near Stourbridge. These and many more events were very well attended by glass enthusiasts. As part of these celebrations of glass, involving glass makers from around the world, a fantastic display of post war Czech art glass was opened in the Red House Glass Cone museum in Wordsley, Stourbridge.

Inside the old Stuart factory buildings, beside the cone itself, the Czech glass display "The Czech Perspective," "Three Generations of Czech glass," presents many "unikat," limited edition or unique pieces of glass, from the past 60 years of Czech glassmaking. The show is curated by Mr Stehlik, who is a designer himself and is also an art director the famous Czech glass factory Egermann. His son Michal also assisted in assembling the display, during holidays away from his studies at the historic Zeleny Brod glassmaking school.

In representing modern glass artists working today, the show includes unique work by prominent Czech artists such
as  Jiří Šuhájek, Tomáš Hlavička  and Jan Frydrych. Older work is represented too. A unique slab of cut glass made by Prof. S. Libensky in 1953, shows a Christian scene, which has never been exhibited before. Libensky made the piece as a wedding present for a friend. Rare cut and engraved designs are shown by Ivan Kolman. Other represented artists include Vladimir Kopecky,Borek Sipek, Rene Roubicek, Miluse Roubickova, Jaromir Rybak, Bohumil Elias, Leos Smejkal, Pavel Kopriva, Pavel  Satrapa and Lukas Jaburek.

More photos from the exhibition may be seen here:

This is a rare opportunity to see pieces that are unlikely to be seen again soon in the UK. A wide spectrum of artistic glass is displayed in a wonderfully historic location that all glass enthusiasts are bound to enjoy