We are a museum that focuses mainly on art glass. The history of our museum is almost a hundred years. Art glass has its origins in Železný Brod, a small town in the north of the Czech Republic.
After 4 years the GLASS WORKS project has successfully ended. On April 14 and 15 we will conclude the project and its accompanying exhibition with a final symposium in Frauenau.
On Saturday, 20 GLASS WORKS trainees will present themselves and their works/enterprises in a fair in the glass museum. Additionally, there will be demonstrations with hot and cold glass, a fusing workshop for kids, expert discussions and a guided exhibition tour.
We cordially invite you to join us on Friday from 4 to 6 pm in Bild-Werk Frauenau, and on Saturday, from 10 am to 7 pm in the Frauenau glass museum!
In our online plenary meeting on March 26 we reviewed the project and started looking to the future. Heinz called for re-adjustments: Glass Works is more than start-ups, but connects European glass regions and their models of regional development!
Mark outlined core results of the 2nd training phase: Start-up tutoring in glass means supporting autonomous glass makers, not teaching students. And: With changing markets, careers potentials of glass artist/makers between craft and conceptual art get more and more wide-ranging. With this in mind, our emphasis turns even stronger towards sustainable, craft-based pathways in glass.
Troels pointed out the necessity of business competence in glass. Bornholm will stay on the ball, to develop new teaching materials for entrepreneurship in glass, and course formats in collaboration with Bild-Werk.
The startup-workshop on March 27 put it all in a nutshell: All trainees presented their achievements during the training period, and received external and internal expert critique with view of realising their career ideas and future development. In return, Bild-Werk was given valuable feedback, praise and criticism about the training phase.
The third training phase was completed on April 9th with a highlight, the joint participation in the award ceremony for the “Coburg European Glass Prize”. Despite Covid-related admission restrictions, we attended with several trainees and the management team. At the Veste Coburg and in the European Museum for Modern Glass in Rödenthal, our project caught on with the international glass scene, a nice feeling for all!
It was particularly pleasing that four of our trainees from the last three years were selected from 700 applications, one of which was even among the prize winners. A great success!
Each training phase ended with an online start-up workshop. Due to Covid and of necessity this took place in a much-reduced form. The management team as well as representatives from the tutors and trainees participated. The learning processes of the trainees were discussed, and strategies for the future path of both trainees and our project in general developed. The discussion was assisted by reports of the trainees’ experiences in all parts of our training program, and information about their planning for the next steps into professional life were shared.
It was shown from all sides that we can offer trainees a very necessary and meaningful in-depth training, even with restrictions in place, and the success of our three rounds has already shown that our concept professionally prepares young emerging artists for careers in glass, where they can take root into the regional glass scenes, and continue the exciting culture of glass. This is the tip of the iceberg. The trainees Glass Works time does not finish, it goes on after they leave us. The outcomes are not a few pieces of glass, but the ideas and inspiration gained, combined with the networks created and business models studied. The trainees also learnt to take more risks, to try daring positions and explore alternatives, even crazy directions and to have courage, for example, to knock on doors requesting exhibition possibilities.
Interesting conclusions could be reached, perhaps too many for this brief report. But for example, we were surprised that from the trainees side an emphasis on quality craftsmanship was very much approved of. This matches our own observations, and although artistic goals will always play a part, the groundwork for a life time in glass must be based on good technical mastery.
We concluded with great pride in the quality of our trainees, and the wish to continue our relationship for years to come. We watch them develop with joy.
Perhaps due the hygiene measures and the disciplined behavior of those involved, the pandemic, which accompanied us especially in the second and third training phase, luckily left us relatively unaffected. When planning a public open studio day on March 19, however, the pandemic threw a spanner in our plans after all. The participants of the annual members meeting of the German networking platform “glass pool” were invited, as were a large number of local and regional players. But as the event drew closer, another Covid wave hit, forcing us to limit the participants to the most important regional representatives of the glass scene. A top-class group was formed from the nearby Zwiesel Glass School, the Frauenau Glass Museum, our cooperation partner from Graz University as well as the press. Four trainees not only put their own projects up for discussion, but because of the intensive co-operation within the group, they were also able to provide information about the work of their absent colleagues (who were either sick or in quarantine) in terms of techniques employed and content / intention.
It was very interesting to see and experience how the project ideas have developed over the past six months, and with what aplomb the protagonists presented their portfolios to the public.
The North Bohemian glass region in and around Novy Bor is a shining example and model of successful regional development in the field of glass. There is a wide range of synergies in glass crafts, design and art, and a great diversity of business and marketing models, which are primarily based on active regional and international co-operation.
The opportunity to immerse themselves in this scene as part of an internship was of great importance to the trainees. The heterogeneous range of hosts is too large to go into detail here, ranging from specialists in every glass craft area, to design-based classic glassworks, to micro-enterprises of the studio glass type.
This year there were no longer any Covid-related obstacles to starting the industrial internships, and even most of the internships from the first training phases that were prevented due to the pandemic could finally be realised during this time. Some of the trainees were no longer dependent on the support of the organisation team in this regard and expanded their choice of internship to our network in Denmark, Austria and Italy, a development that made us very happy!
“After the conclusion of the project, the project partners and regional funders aim to establish the European Networking Platform and start-up activities (…) on a permanent base. It is expected that from an initial focus on former Glass Works trainees, the platform will gradually grow and integrate individual artists and artisans, as well as new businesses, and other institutions in glass on a border-crossing base. A coordination and international communication hub will be located at Bild-Werk Frauenau with the help of regional and trans-regional funding (…).”
This was stated in 2018 in the EU project application for Glass-Works. We are working on it in Frauenau, Graz and on Bornholm! In Frauenau, our goal is to continue assisting young artists to become fit for self-employment. In addition, we want to build a new institutional infrastructure for collaborative work with glass, as well as for networking and marketing of glass workers. In parallel with the international summer academy Bild-Werk Frauenau, we seek to expand our artistic programs. In the hot glass studio, small-scale manufacturing (e.g. in work residencies) shall be made possible. We would like to collect knowledge and know-how on energy-efficient glassmaking through contacts in European scenes for studio furnace construction. Results, information and contacts would be documented and fed back into practice.
Since the summer of 2021, we have had extensive discussions with experts from regional management and regional politics, from art funding and intangible cultural heritage in Bavaria. Here we find open ears: In Frauenau, old glass culture and studio glass come together. The international network and the open teaching concept of Bild-Werk offers unique future potential that we intend to develop. Where, if not here; when, if not now, can it continue in the glass?