ONDŘEJ NOVOTNÝ in conversation with North Lands Creative Director Karen Phillips.



YEAR - 2019

1. Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to be an artist?

I have never really thought i would be an artist, as I was a factory trained glassmaker. But with some time, when I got some experiences and did see the world of glass/glass art, I’ve decided to realize some of my own ideas. So it all went pretty naturally.

2. Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

Important is to have a clear image of what I want to make. But, there can always be a moment, when material tells you otherwise. 

Anyway my work needs a lot of preparations, delicacy with patterns, than lots of strength

3. Can you discuss the significance of optical qualities in your work?

The recent series of my work is a testament to simplification and optical qualities. I enjoy exploring the illusions of complex patterns contrasted with the optical qualities of solid glass. The surface reflection on the object as well as within the single symmetrical bubble

creates an optical illusion of a complex moving pattern. This visually complex, and often mathematically puzzling pattern, contrasted with the simple curves and optical qualities of solid glass can have a mesmerising effect.

4. Can you describe your studio space? What is your daily routine when working?

The last year , I have been running my father’s studio. We run a production studio with four furnaces, 12 glassmakers. Our studio is mainly focused on producing small series of tableware and lighting.

Our complex contains a restaurant, glass museum, gallery and a metal shop for producing glassmaking tools.

5. What advise would you give to an emerging artist?

Don’t be afraid of mistakes, there will be many. Figuring out what the mistakes were ,will teach you many lessons. Definitely very important is to travel, see other places, countries, learn and absorb. Meet new groups of people.

6. If you could collaborate with someone who would they be?

I would like to create some of my own lighting , so the people I need to collaborate with are the fitting constructors.

7. Could you tell us something about the importance of European glass?


8. What are your favourite European artists, studios and / or places?

Hanne Enemark & Louis Thompson , Tobias Mohl , James Maskrey , Egevaerk & Backhouse & Brown , Matti Klenell , Davide Fuin

My favorite places to visit for glass are : Pierini Glass – Biot – France, Stourbridge glassblowing studio – Ian Bamforth – UK, Bildwerk – Frauenau – Germany

9. How important is it to you to be making work internationally and with other European organisations and artists?

It is very important to get connected to the European/World glass community, gather ideas and experiences. For me it was learning language and meeting new friends.

10. You communicate with artists and studios in other European countries. What is the prevailing mood currently?

Well Corona virus did limit studios incomes, some of them closed for some time, some of them definitely. But small studios will always be ok, darker clouds are over larger facilities, factories.

11. What are your ambitions? Whats next?

Hopefully I will continue running the family business in the future, I wish to find some more free time to make some new work again.


Born and raised in Novy Bor, a glass town in the Czech Republic.

Novotny has been surrounded by glass his whole life. His father, Petr Novotny, had a glassblowing studio in the family home. Novotny has been blowing glass since joining the school in Novy Bor in 1999.
After finishing his studies, he has travelled the world to absorb and learn as much as he can.
Novotny has spent several years in the Netherlands working as a freelancer at the NationaalGlasmuseum and has also worked in his father’s company Ajeto.

Since 2009 he has also assisted Martin Janecky with his personal work and teaching. Most recently Novotny is working in the family business, a glass production studio called Novotny Glass Centre in Novy Bor.

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