What’s artistic glass?

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Art glass is decorative glass created by individual artists using small-scale kilns. Vintage glass can include factory glass art. The studio glass movement began in the 1960s in the US and has gone international. Glass art covers a broad spectrum of objects and can range in price from cheap to staggering.

Art glass primarily refers to glass works of more decorative than functional intent that are created by individual glass artists and/or their few assistants using small-scale kilns in glass studios. While contemporary art glass is distinguished by its handcrafted appearance and individual creativity, vintage glass made before the 1960s can include factory glass art, produced by small crews of factory workers.

With machines taking over the production of utilitarian glassware in the 19th century, workers had time to try their hand at more artistic creations. The modernist movement in art also affected glassmaking, with institutes such as Corning in New York, the Bauhaus School in Germany and the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague introducing glassmaking courses with an emphasis on education artistic. As a result, glass artists began incorporating artistic effects into their work.

Companies such as Lalique, Daum, Galle, Royal Leerdam Crystal and Kosta Boda in Europe, Tiffany’s and Steuben’s in the United States, and Hoya Crystal in Japan have become well known for their production of art glass. Murano in Italy, with its long tradition of experimentation in glass, has remained at the forefront and is generally regarded as the birthplace of the modern art glass movement, having inspired artists from around the world.

Glass art on a strictly individual level, however, didn’t come into being until the 1960s, with the takeoff of the studio glass movement in the United States. American artists such as Harvey Littleton, Dominic Labino, Marvin Lipofsky, Bill Boysen and Dale Chihuly created one-of-a-kind glass works using many different and innovative techniques and initiated glass-making programs at various US universities. The studio movement then went international. Many countries now have societies, grants and competitions to encourage future glass artists and facilitate the exchange of ideas and methods.

Some of the major art glass production methods include glassblowing, glass melting and fusing, freeform glassmaking, lampwork glass, and patterned glass. The different types of glass include stained glass, painted glass, etched glass, bevelled glass, fusing glass, blown glass, leaded glass and cut glass.

Noted for their elegant shapes, vibrant colors, and rich textures, fine art glass works cover a broad spectrum of objects: vases, jars, pitchers, decanters, bowls, stemware, cups, plates, dishes, tumblers, tumblers holders, bottles, paperweights, candle holders, lighters, ashtrays, beads, jewellery, toiletries, figurines, sculptures, centerpieces, glass panels, mosaics and accent tiles – and they make great additions to the home. Prices, depending on the artist and the complexity of the design and manufacture, range from cheap to staggering, from a few hundred to several hundred thousand US dollars.

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