Winding up the week and heading for Prague

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my adventures in the glass studio and the region of Bohemia here in the Czech Republic. My week has ended and I am now in Prague visiting with my dear friend Beate, the former director of the Jewish German Project on the German side. We haven’t seen each other since a long time and so it is good to have some time together. We will explore Prague and I will post a future blog about this time.

And I want to bring you up to date with my last day in the studio. Two major goals for the day, finishing up my work and getting myself to the hotel in Prague that I will be staying in. The day began with another early start, and here’s what my to-go breakfast looked like.

This breakfast to go was also my lunch

This breakfast to go was also my lunch

My mornings at the studio would begin with some blog time, and some Skype time with Lisa and this internet connection was really great to not feel disconnected in any way with home. So now onto the day and the work. I had the goal to finish up my models and go over the color selection and the scheduling of the production with Vaclav. Our meeting was at 8am so I had some time to check in with Peter, my helper with making the molds from my clay models. The day looked really packed for me to get it all done, and it went very well. Here’s the last model called The Light Keepers which will stand tall on it’s end, will be in a purple glass which will let the most light through in the center point.

The Light Keepers

The Light Keepers

Peter will work on this form, making the plaster model and preparing it for casting. I meet with Vaclav and find out that the earliest my new glass sculptures will be done is mid-April. This big lead time is just one of the slow aspects of glass casting. I have learned a great deal while here this week, and want to thank all that shared their gifts of knowledge and friendship with me. I have been welcomed to return as long as there is space in the studio to work. The room that I worked in is usually a storage space for all the master models they keep. They prepared it for me and now need to more all the models back into storage there. This is a warm and dry place and that makes it ideal for mold storage, not the kind of mold that we have in our wet Washington, that comes when you store something in our climate and you get mold on your mold. I’m making a joke and our mold got me very ill a while back and I’m happy to not have my respiratory problems that our mold can cause. Am I getting off track here of what?

So back to what this place is all about, Glass Casting! Here’s a picture of the first inspection after a number of molds have been cooling for weeks.

Looking into the kiln

Looking into the kiln

So now the last big hurde is getting to Prague. As the last minute before going to the bus station, I am offered a ride. A woman customer will be arriving soon to inspect a huge job they have just finished for a wealthy Russian family. It is a fabulous artwork with 2 large doves with wings that span the height of the casting. It is made of 7 or 8 large pieces of glass crystal, absolutely clear. There is a crest design in the center of the two birds. I was asked not to take any pictures of other people’s artwork, so I can show you what it looked like, other than to say that it was about 10 feet in height and 7 or 8 feet in width. I would imagine this job costing $100,000 or more.

So I get to go with Valerie, and she tells me that she needs to make a quick stop in another city to pick up some samples from another company she works with. Seems that she works for a company that sources custom made glass items for wealthy Russian businesses and families. She is heading us up to the mountains north of the town that I have been staying in. We are driving into the snow though the roads are clear. She is a fast driver, pushing her Audi through the curves like she has trained with some of the best autobahn racers. I’m a bit nervous as I don’t know where we are going and I have to surrender to her generous offer to take me to Prague.

A quick shot of my driver

A quick shot of my driver

So we are off to a chandelier maker as she has a client who wants these glass lights in their home. She says it’s the rage in Russia. Oh, well it seems like this was the case in the US back in the 50’s as I recall my parents having one or two of these types of lights.

This is the chandelier showroom

This is the chandelier showroom

So I mentioned that we got lost, and found ourselves in Poland. Yes, that’s right she took a wrong turn which didn’t seem obvious, as we followed the road through the snowy mountains and then the signs changed and the cars had different plates. We got out of Poland very quickly leaving the border town and headed to her destination of the chandelier showroom.

This map was the proof that we were in Poland

This map was the proof that we were in Poland

I am happy to say that we got back on the right road and though it was quite a drive, I got to see village after village that was mostly working with the making of Czech glass. Beads, glassware, and all kinds of other glass products made in huge factories, all looking like ancent Russian constructions.

A modern glass factory

A modern glass factory

I will end this post here and will fill you in on some of my Prague life.  B

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Explore posts in the same categories: Art for Peace, Sculpture, Uncategorized

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