/6th International Symposium of Engraved Glass Kamenický Šenov/

The first symposium of engraved glass was held in 1996 as a result of the endeavour of the Kamenický Šenov municipality, the Glass Museum and the Secondary Glass School (hereinafter SUPŠS) Kamenický Šenov, of the professional arts and crafts communities, manufacturing and business subjects and of the large community of researchers, collectors and experts in the engraved glass field.

The course of the first symposium exceeded all assumptions of its organizers. However all the organizing subjects expected the interest of numerous active glass artists, craftsmen and experts, Kamenický Šenov became a place of a real historical event. Beginning with the first symposium Kamenický Šenov hosted not only an elite group of glass engravers but also numerous artists who were not specifically oriented on engraved glass nevertheless who felt a need to participate in the unique event, to be experimentally engaged in the creative programme and to bring something new to the engraved glass environment. The expected interest of theorists and historians at specialized lectures was always enriched by the beneficial and innovative approaches connecting engraved glass and related techniques and technologies in sometimes unexpected contexts.

The symposium was intended as an international and generously conceived project and its aim was clearly formulated – on one hand to create an active environment for the common work of artists and craftsmen engaged in engraved glass and on the other hand to offer a wide platform for meetings of glass historians, pedagogues, theorists, technologists and businessman with the aim to present engraved glass as an essential discipline going beyond limits of glassmaking as well as crossing borders among states and continents. The international reputation achieved by the event proves the fact the aim was always fulfilled. The symposium almanacs and catalogues are valuable documents definitely confirm its benefit.

The regular holding of the symposium was interrupted in 2011 particularly because of the problematic situation of SUPŠS Kamenický Šenov that has been its decisive partner from the very beginning. Due to the actual consolidation of the situation at SUPŠS and the principal support of the Kamenický Šenov municipality, the members of the Association of the Symposium of Engraved Glass (that has been its main organizer from the very beginning) decided to organize the symposium after the six years long break, to exploit the experience from previous years and to bring a new impulse to the event. The organizational committee prepared a changed format of the symposium outlined for 2014 in a bit reduced form compared with the past both in the number of

participants and accompanying events. The aim was to create a more intimate working atmosphere concentrated both on the work in workshops and on an intensive communication among participants. The five days long working of participants was followed by a weekend programme beginning on Friday, Sept. 19 with participation of additional guests. The weekend programme included presentations of authors´ works and glass projects, professional discussions, openings of exhibitions and social meetings. The programme was crowned by the visit at the Glass Art Centre in Sázava where chosen takers in engraved glass could follow in working at the Jiří Harcuba School.

22 artists and craftsmen oriented in the first place on engraved glass were intentionally invited to the active creative participation in the symposium – 7 from the Czech Republic, 7 from abroad and 8 students of glass professions from the Czech Republic and abroad. This year the students´ programme has been included in the total concept included the exhibition where the students´ works were displayed together with works by outstanding authors as an organic part of the resulting presentation. SUPŠS offered the participants not only the opportunity to work in the engraving workshop but also the exploitation of any technical equipment. The engravers could use among others also exclusive glass semi-products delivered by a major partner of the symposium, the

company of Moser a.s. Karlovy Vary, and coloured plates provided by the St. Lamberts glassworks that were used for a common work of the participants in the form of individual engravings symbolically joined in one composition.

The symposium regulations include also the opportunity to bring even finished and semi-finished pieces as the time demands of some engravings go over the possibilities of the five-day cycle. Despite of it, unique works proving the vitality of engraved glass and especially its diversity were finished or directly originated. No exaggeration to say that, even after centuries of the development when the glass engraving reached the absolute technical and creative peaks, it is a technique of extraordinary artistic and technological capabilities. Engraved glass can be understood quite unconventionally, innovatively, inventively and very contemporarily without spoiling the respect to the craft and the continuity.

One of the fundamental messages of this symposium is the fact this unique technique has real masters in the field across several generations. Another extraordinarily positive message is the finding out that numerous young authors understand the engraving as an attractive field of employment worth a systematic engagement. It is proved

by the fact that even besides the students´ section one could meet both accepted masters and engravers with unorthodox approach and with ambitious to move the art limits, offer new technological solutions and possibilities of application of engraved glass. Exactly the need of new impulses and the intergeneration communication in the world of engraved glass was one of the motives leading to the origin of the symposium in Kamenický Šenov.

Within the symposium its participants could present their own works, visit glassmaking workshops and studios in the region and primarily get to know one another both professionally and socially. Thanks to the closer concept of the 6th Symposium the informal meetings were extraordinary successful. Thus the exhibition of results of the 6th Symposium in the Glass Museum Kamenický Šenov has offered a really representative (however naturally not exhausting due to the capacity reasons of the symposium) overview of the contemporary engraved glass – the traditional approach, experimenting, new trends in the concept and application of the glass engraving as a rightful part of the contemporary creative art including the conceptual approach with an ovelap to the field of design, architecture, multimedia and the studio glass. The students´ section became an organic part of the exhibition. Works by students of secondary schools and universities were exhibited together with works by personalities who are surely classics in the field and often their teachers.

Besides, the Glass Museum offered a welcome flashback in the form of an exhibition of the selection of the best works from all the symposia held since 1996. The exhibition was opened together with the exhibition of the actual symposium and became a part of the permanent collection.

Since 1996 Kamenický Šenov has hosted hundreds of artists and experts engaged in engraved glass and glassmaking generally. Engraved glass itself is a branch not externally too attractive as the work in the hot shop processing the hot glass mass. The concentrated creative activities of glass engravers can be at work itself appreciated mainly by a professional. Thus, it is the more necessary to appreciate the fact that even so subtle, on itself focused and for many people conservative technique whose home is the at first sight statically acting workshop full of whirring engraving machines was and is repeatedly able to attract an exhibition of the selection of the world to the small town in the north of Bohemia.