GLASS-BLOWERS KNOW HOW TO CATCH THE WIND

The Exhibition “World of glass” in the National Art Museum can compensate the absence of a valid winter, which hasn’t been spoiling us with its crystal beauty
The Exhibition “World of glass” in the National Art Museum can compensate the absence of a valid winter, which hasn’t been spoiling us with its crystal beauty.

In 125 years of its history, the glass plant “Neman” collected many artifacts, eloquently reflecting this or that йpoque. The showpieces occupied almost the whole floor in the museum, almost the same amount was sent back to the plant, because the space was not enough. This is only a small part of what is being stored in the funds of the only museum of glass in Belarus, established here 30 years ago. Besides, a very popular museum daily hosts tens of excursion groups. Now it is unnecessarily to visit Grodno area to admire the mastership of glass-blowers of the century before last and of our days. It is enough to visit the exhibition of glass in the National Art Museum.

“Of course, the technologies were improved, but the way of glass production has remained unchanged since the time of the Russian Empire,” an artist-designer Elena Tkacheva says, demonstrating rather archaic devices, presented in the first museum hall. Old examples of the glass plant products are being exhibited here. It would be more correct to say that these are gutas with the only glass furnace, built in 1883 on the Neman bank by the masters’ pupils of the famous Diatkovsky plant. At that time the blowing shops were called gutas, and now guta is everything created with the help of a blowpipe, Elena explains. Guta is also a popular name of town settlements in Belarus. I know several such settlements in Brest, Krugliany, Baranovichi, and Kirov districts... Even now you can dig out rare pharmaceutic vials or beer cups. However, only one of these old gutas was destined to become the biggest production of glassware.

Generally, almost everything displayed on the first museum floor is glassware. The only difference is that modern artistic examples are designed only for exhibitions or, in case of urgence, for decoration of ambitious interiors. 100 years ago, airy sugar bowls in the form of the swans and graceful bizarre fruit bowls were common daily details. At that time art and routine didn’t become almost contrary notions...

Besides, the old production technologies of the elegant crockery in metallic forms were used until the 40’s of the last century.

“Then the style and rhythm of life changed, and old forms were destroyed,” Tkacheva complains. “Do you know what happens now? In Europe such old plants as ours, where such forms were preserved, are being exploited again! Why does forgotten modern and vintage come into fashion everywhere? This happens, because the world is tired of the simplified lifestyle pattern of its difficult life...”

Naturally, in routine overloaded with all possible information people want to escape to a place, where life is simple and inelaborate, and shortage of exciting events is being compensated by refined scenery... If somebody thinks that modern painters refer to it with irony, creating decorative dishes in the form of the omelet with ketchup or a vase, literally flowing from the table, it is easy to discover something completely different not far away. “The Wind Caught,” “Splinters of Southern Mountains,” “Pomegranate Color” are only several names of art of the modern glass-blowers, who viewably embodied there dreams in something bigger...

Irina Petrovskaya
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