Eastern Bavaria

Eastern Bavaria shows itself as a field of tension between glassworks tradition, automated production, tourism and art.

In the wooded border mountains along the trade paths to Bohemia, since the 14th century Made of glass. In the Baroque period, the forest glassworks produced glassworks that produced glass for everyday use, expensive decorative glasses and flat glasses.

In the course of industrialization, flat glass production was concentrated in the Upper Palatinate, while in the Bavarian Forest table and household glasses were blown and refined in glass factories based on division of labor. Up until the 1930s, they achieved world fame with historicism and art nouveau glasses and the collaboration with well-known artist-designers. From 1904 on, the Zwiesel Glass College developed specialized skills and aesthetic awareness.

In the post-war period, medium-sized manual production came under the pressure for perfection and pricing of the machine. Three glassworks were automated, while craft businesses and glassworks turned to tourism and cheap imports. At the same time, an artistic studio glass scene established itself from the 1980s.

Between decline and awakening

The East Bavarian glass region is affected by contradicting developments. While traditional knowledge continues to decline, artistic glass makers from all over the world find a forum here.

Towards the end of the 20th century The opening of the Iron Curtain intensified the globalization pressure on the East Bavarian hand glass industry. in the 21st century there is neoliberal calculation against the innovative cultural heritage of glass: Outsourcing, glassworks closings and layoffs make a diverse glassworking culture and its skills disappear.

In 2020, two remaining traditional glassworks in the glassmaking towns of Frauenau and Zwiesel-Theresienthal will focus on high-quality hand-made production, on design and artist collaborations, while hand-blown colored flat glasses for artistic interior design will come from Waldsassen in the Upper Palatinate.