New Glass and Studio Glass

New Glass arose in Europe in the late 1950s and early 1960s as a reaction to the Functionalism which had predominated up to that time. The American studio glass movement was born around the same period, in the spring of 1962. That was when, together with Dominick Labino, Harvey K. Littleton built a small, mobile kiln capable of melting glass in Toledo, Ohio. This kiln, which artists could set up in their own studio, gave them independence from industrial production facilities and was to give its name to the whole movement.

While the early studio glass artists were advocates of free, spontaneous work at the kiln, modern glass artists implement all kinds of hot and cold-working techniques, often in combination with one another.

Traditional production techniques are being enriched by fresh new ideas from young and up-and-coming artists from Europe, the United States, Japan and Australia. They are lending a new dimension to the original concept of studio glass.

The glass scene is international

Even in earlier times, glassmakers moved from place to place to share their experiences with glassmaking techniques. Today, with travelling so much easier, a plethora of basic and further training institutions in the Old and New Worlds and the new media, this tendency is even stronger.

Another important aspect is the international competitive exhibitions which are held at regular intervals.

Small wonder then that today, virtually only international trends are spoken of in relation to free-form glass. However, regional characteristics have also emerged, such as in the neighbouring town of Lauscha, or in the Czech Republic.

Art in Glass

The earliest studio glass artists generated a general awareness that glass could be used as an art medium. They reshaped, alienated and ironised the material in order to tease new and unusual qualities out of it.

Glass artists of the middle generation often emphasise the material characteristics of glass, such as transparency, brilliance and colour, and lend them symbolic meaning.

Glass stands for hardness, brittleness, or wounding. More recently, the language of material which previously stood has been increasingly disregarded and glass often combined with other materials. At the centre is the creative idea.

© Europäisches Museum für Modernes Glas