IGS is held in Nový Bor a picturesque town located on the border of two protected landscape areas – České středohoří and Lužické hory. The development of the town and its close connection with glass-making has developed into a plentiful of glass foundries.
What is particularly wonderful about this festival is the conversations. IGS is a chance for students and professionals, beginners and pros, people from different backgrounds, artistic fields, and areas of expertise to gather together. I found everyone is approachable and on equal footing. In that spirit, I met with artists who are working in so many perspectives in glass.
Getting to meet Karen LaMonte and Steven Polaner, at Preciosa was an incredible way to start the morning. Petra Mejzlíková kindly took the time to talk to me about the work he is leading in the product design department there, which is clearly pushing the boundaries of crystal production, and makes use of the latest technologies.
The morning continued around the many studios and also the Glass School in Nový Bor where the talented glass engraver Pavlína Čambalová demonstrated her work during the festival run.
So many studios, so many people, and I wanted to see them all it’s going to take at least another day of exploring. I ended up choosing to look round Kolektiv Ateliers, which has been set up by an emerging young generation of glass artists. There I managed to catch Æsa Björk known for the work Shield II with Tinna Thorsteinsdóttir, which was awarded the Grand Prize by the jury for the Toyama International Glass Exhibition in 2018. She is also an artistic advisor for S12 Open Access Studio and Gallery in Bergen Norway.
The range of perspectives on show are really incredible, you can generally tell how exciting a day was by the state of my bag at the end of it with the names of organisations and resources, business cards tucked into the pages. The day was pretty special, and I’m very grateful to the IGS team for making it happen, and for bringing such an amazing group of people all together.