Martin Půta, the President of Liberec Region, has granted to IGS organizing team the patronage over the International Glass Symposium. In addition to a significant financial support of 500,000 CZK, which has been already agreed upon in contract with Liberec Region, the patronage brings also a great moral encouragement to the local glassmakers. It is a signal to all glass companies which participate in IGS, and at the same represent the most widespread industry in the region, that preservation and development of the traditional glass craft is perceived as essential not only for Nový Bor, but also for Liberec Region and the whole Czech Republic. The attitude of the Liberec Region management is very important to the organizing team for it shows appreciation of the uniqueness of this working meeting of glassmakers from all over the world, not only on the content side, but also appreciation of the cooperation of the public and private sector on its organization.
From 4th to 7th October, the town of Nový Bor will once again welcome glassmakers from the Czech Republic and abroad at the International Glass Symposium IGS 2018. In four days, they will bring their ideas to life together at glassworks and refining workshops. Since the first symposium in 1982, it will be the thirteenth time that the glassmakers meet in Nový Bor. Each of these meetings of glassmakers, artists and designers was unique, had its own specifics, brought news and records, however, their common feature was the opportunity for glassmakers and artists to meet in a creative collaborative environment, to exchange views and experience, to gain and fortify contacts and friendships. It will not be otherwise in 2018. Actually, that is what the 13th IGS motto aims to express too – “Glass unites us”. It not only expresses the union of glassmakers across the world, but also the cooperation of organizing subjects. For the fourth time, Nový Bor is the main organizer, joined by glass companies, glass schools and museum institutions as co-organizers.
The town of Nový Bor boasts of its attribute “Town of Glass” practically from the time of its foundation more than 260 years ago. As such, it is also known abroad. There are about 120 glass companies in the town and its surroundings. The most important of them are of course participating in the organization of IGS. For local region, glass is a phenomenon which has made it famous and still represents it worldwide. Each IGS turns Nový Bor with its 12,000 inhabitants into a glass capital of the world. Therefore IGS has a great importance for art glass; it supports the image of Nový Bor, Liberec Region and the Czech Republic, which are perceived as significant glass destinations. It has a great importance for the local glass production, promotion of Czech glass and Czech glass craft in the worldwide context. Since 1982, about 600 artists from the Czech Republic and abroad have participated in the symposium. They presented themselves through their work to professional and general public. Cooperation of foreign artists and Czech glass craftsmen who bring their ideas to life is also of a great significance. Aims and objectives of the symposium are therefore clear – besides presenting prominent glass artists of the whole world, it is to introduce excellent local glassblowers, cutters, engravers, mold makers and of course companies who employ them, to keep the tradition alive and to ensure the future of this great phenomenon – Czech Glass at the same time. Glass artists from around the world, merchants, gallerists and art theorists come to the town and then share their experiences and impressions of Nový Bor abroad. IGS has no match worldwide. Its size and content makes it the most significant event of its kind; also there is no such concentration of technologies and glass companies anywhere in the world. The town of Nový Bor stands at the front of all organizing subjects for the fourth time. In 2009 it took over the tradition from Crystalex, its founder, as a result of crises that affected the glass industry.
Without a significant share of the co-organizers, who provide their own productions, and partners, who support the symposium financially, it would be impossible for the event to take place. The organizing subjects help with the organization, but at the same time invest a considerable amount of money from their budgets to provide the artists with a full service, comfort and a perfect background to create their glass artifacts. Among the partners of the symposium are prominent regional glass companies, museums, municipalities and public administration institutions. IGS 2018 co-organizers are glass companies AVE CLARA, AZ-DESIGN, CRYSTALEX CZ, EGERMANN, JIŘÍ PAČINEK, KOLEKTIV ATELIERS, LASVIT AJETO, PRECIOSA, GLASSWORKS SLAVIA, NOVOTNY GLASS, ŠÍPEK TEAM and TGK, together with Glass Museum Nový Bor and glass schools in Nový Bor and Kamenický Šenov. Representatives of all these subjects form a team whose aim is to provide all IGS participants and guests with unforgettable experiences, to contribute to preservation and development of the traditional craft of the glassmaking region and its promotion in the world. The head of the team is Jaromír Dvořák, Mayor of Nový Bor, as the director of the symposium, followed by Alena Forgáčová, secretary of the symposium. Other members of the team are Eliška Vavříčková, Glass Museum, Magdaléna Riedelová, Symposium Secretariat and IGS curator Milan Hlaveš, the Chief Curator of the Glass and Ceramics Collection of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague. This cooperation is possible thanks to the partnership of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague and IGS, and great thanks for that belongs to the museum director Helena Koenigsmarková. LASVIT is a dominating partner because it not only stands among the organizing subjects, but also significantly supports IGS 2018 financially. It fulfills all the organizational and financial tasks assigned to organizing entities, but it also provides funding for joint activities such as publicity, official social events, or a symposium cultural program. Another important partner of this year's IGS is the Liberec Region. It not only provided a financial support, but also a moral one in the form of patronage of Martin Půta, the President of the Liberec Region. Taking over the patronage, the president of the region has sent out a message to all the organizers that he supported their work and considered it to be useful and beneficial to the entire Liberec Region. Significant financial support was provided also by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic as a part of the subsidy for festivals, and Foundation of ČEZ in their support of the regions.
Already more than 50 artists from Europe and overseas, representing various art fields – glass and conceptual art, design, architecture or fashion, have promised their participation. With great sadness, we accept the fact that at IGS 2018 we will not see a glass legend René Roubíček who was, together with his wife, the first artist to be introduced to the Hall of Fame during the previous symposium. This tribute to legends belongs in 2018 to Jiří Šuhájek who will be introduced to the Hall of Fame at IGS opening ceremony at Nový Bor Theatre on Thursday, October 4th. This choice is hardly a surprise since we have been seeing Šuhájek’s name among the participants of the symposium regularly since its foundation. His art work is also honored by graphic studio Revolta that has chosen his “Ferdoraj” for this year’s IGS visual style.
IGS 2018 is a signal and clear message to the whole world that Nový Bor is still a place where glass production and art is still a living unique phenomenon. Come and see for yourself in Nový Bor in October that Czech glass is alive and that GLASS UNITES US!
RNDr. Alena Forgáčová
for the secretariat of IGS 2018