As Secretary I. IGS sees it

Jubilee 15th edition of the International Glass Symposium (IGS) will take place from October 3 to 6, 2024 in Nový Bor in North Bohemia and its surrounding area. Preparations have been underway since spring to ensure the participation of more than forty selected artists or creative pairs from 15 countries around the world.
They will create their works of art in collaboration with top glass craftsmen of various professions, whether they are master glass blowers, grinders, engravers, or glass painters, but also experts in the field of slumped or melt glass and other techniques. Several glass companies and specialized workshops and operations will be available to them, namely Ajeto Lindava, Ave Clara in Polevsko, AZ Design, Crystalex CZ, Jílek Glassworks Kamenický Šenov, Kolektiv Ateliers, Lasvit, Novotný Glass, Pačinek Glass Kunratice, TGK Skalice, as well as workshops of glassmaking schools in Nový Bor and Kamenický Šenov. These workplaces will open to the public and glass professionals during the Open Day, with transport provided.

Since its inception, the Glass Symposium in Nový Bor has been one of the world's most important events in the field of artistic glass creation. It has been held continuously since 1982 at three-year intervals and was initiated by the progressive management of at the time Czechoslovakian glass concern Crystalex with the support of cultural institutions. The organizing committee, headed by glass artist and designer Pavel Hlava, managed to secure participation of several iconic representatives of studio glass from the West, although the event was held in a state behind the Iron Curtain. The generosity of the organizer, the technical equipment and the mastery of the glassmakers literally took their breath away, as they were used to working at smaller glassworks at home. For the selected glassmaking teams from Nový Bor, it was a matter of prestige and honor to demonstrate their skills.

The conditions for holding symposia have changed significantly with the privatization and restructuring of the glass industry. After 1989, the giant concerns broke up, new studios and smaller production companies were established, some glass factories returned to the hands of the original owners. The traditions of top craftsmanship of various glass specializations, from hot shop production to the most diverse refining techniques typical of Nový Bor region, which has been inextricably linked to glass production since the 17th century, have been revived.

Over the past decades, around six hundred artists, both well-known personalities, and lesser-known representatives of the younger generation, took turns at the symposiums and were given the opportunity to demonstrate their talent. Gradually, artists from other fields also accepted invitations to participate, e.g. sculptors who normally work with traditional sculptural materials, or painters who need to verify their artistic concepts in spatial expression. However, there was also a film director, costume designer and many others creative profession. Performances by Professor Vladimír Kopecký, which he conducted despite his advanced age in the premises of the glassworks with musical accompaniment, became legendary.

During several intensive working days, a number of interesting works of art will certainly be created this year as well. Visitors will be able to watch the creative process, and the most successful works will be presented on the last day of the symposium in the Glass Museum in Nový Bor. At the time being, there is an exhibition of the works by the artist and designer Pavel Hlava on the centenary of his birth. Preparations are also underway for the induction of glass master Petr Novotný into the Hall of Fame. He participated in all years of the IGS, supported its maintenance in years of adversity, and thirty years ago became a co-founder of the Ajeto glassworks in Lindava. In Nový Bor, he founded the glassworks Novotný Glass, together with a museum which includes a unique collection of symposium art creations. In addition to the cultural program, countless informal meetings of specialists in the glass industry from various professions, gallerists, museum workers, curators, etc. will traditionally take place.

The town of Nový Bor, as the main organizer, will undoubtedly again take on the demanding organizational task with the entire organizing team with professionalism and commitment, so that the jubilee 15th edition of the International Glass Symposium becomes unforgettable. At the beginning of October, the small town in the north of Bohemia will once again turn into a world glass metropolis and consolidate the unique position of the region thanks to the varied offer of glass processing technologies and a wide range of refining techniques.

Pavla Rossini, PhD. Freelance curator and writer, lives in Copenhagen, Denmark and Prague, Czech Republic.


October 3 – 6, 2024, Nový Bor, Czech Republic
motto: All you need is Glass…

It was 1982, when the Crystalex company in Nový Bor decided to hold the International Glass Symposium (IGS) for the first time. Michael Jackson released the Thriller album, hockey player Tomáš Plekanec, actress Jessica Biel and William, Prince of Wales, were born. Czechoslovakia at the time was part of the Eastern Bloc separated from the rest of the world by the "Iron Curtain". 53 artists from 14 European countries arrived at the first IGS. For a number of local glassmakers, it was their first encounter with the free Western world. For the foreign artistis, the first meeting with local craftsmen. For the second symposium in 1985, artists from the United States and Japan had already arrived. Only the memories of those who witnessed it can speak of the courage of the founders at that time, the amazement of world artists at the skill of local glassmakers and the technical possibilities of a small town "somewhere in the east of Europe". What remains the same is the enthusiasm, the unique creative atmosphere and the joy of mutual meeting. The glass world has been meeting here, in Nový Bor, a small town in the north of Bohemia, every three years since then.

Since 2009, the town of Nový Bor has been the main organizer of the IGS. However, holding the symposium would not be possible without the cooperation with important companies of the region which provide their facilities to the invited glassmakers. Glass schools in Nový Bor and Kamenický Šenov also offer their space and professional support. The Liberec region is traditionally main partner of the event. The 15th anniversary IGS symposium will take place here in Nový Bor on October 3-6, 2024.
We will be honored if you decide to be a part of it.

In addition to artists and glass makers, curators of glass institutions, collectors, gallerists, publicists and theorists also come here regularly. The participants are carefully selected by the curator and the preparatory team so that the selection is as varied as possible. There are glass artists and artists from other fields, designers, students ... women and men from different corners of the world, members of different generations, represented. They receive the organizational support of the symposium secretariat, but first and foremost production capacities of twelve entities (Ajeto Lindava, Ave Clara Polevsko, AZ Design, Crystalex CZ, Kolektiv Ateliers, Novotný Glass, Pačinek Glass Kunratice, Glassworks Jílek Kamenický Šenov, TGK Skalice near Česká Lípa, Glass School Kamenický Šenov and Glass School Nový Bor). The division of participants into individual operations is adapted to the nature of their work. In addition to the realization of the glass works and their exhibition, the symposium includes a rich accompanying program.

The IGS tradition has been continuing for more than forty years. The symposium had been held every three years despite the disintegration of the original state, the privatization of the original organizer, the coronavirus pandemic and many other obstacles. Each year is different, unique, hectic and unforgettable. Come and experience IGS. We look forward to seeing you.

All you need is Glass,
It´s easy…
Glass is all you need!

In representation of the IGS preparatory team,
Eliška Vavříčková, Curator
Glass Museum Nový Bor

The jubilee 15th IGS was granted the patronage of the Czech Commission for UNESCO

The Czech Commission for UNESCO considers the project of the International Glass Symposium to be generally beneficial, including from the point of view of national and international cooperation, presentation and transfer of experience, with prerequisites of a good organizational and artistic level. The Commission found that this is a project that fulfills the Convention for the Preservation of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and is related to the objectives of the Medium-term Strategy of UNESCO. The event thus has the potential to contribute to the promotion of the inscription "Knowledge, craft and skills of hand-made glass production" on the representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

President Petr Pavel granted patronage to IGS 2024 in Nový Bor

The President of the Czech Republic, Petr Pavel, granted patronage to the International Glass Symposium IGS 2024 in Nový Bor. He thus appreciated the uniqueness of this exceptional event, its social and cultural significance and international prestige. The jubilee 15th episode of the symposium, which is one of its kind in the world, will take place from October 3 to 6, 2024. The public will have an opportunity to see around fourty artists and designers from five continents who will create their art in the workshops of local glass companies and schools. The town of Nový Bor supports the glass symposium as the main organizer organizationally, and financially.

"The International Glass Symposium has long been highlighting the hand-made glassmaking tradition and craftsmanship, which have been inextricably linked to Nový Bor and the Liberec region for generations. We are therefore very pleased that at a time when UNESCO included hand-made glass production on the list of intangible cultural heritage, this year's triennial symposium was patronized by the President of the Czech Republic, Petr Pavel. I believe that his support will help to spread the excellent name of Czech glassmakers both in the Czech Republic and abroad, and at the same time will consolidate and strengthen the importance of the further development of glassmaking. I sincerely hope that Mr. President will find time in his demanding schedule and come to the symposium. We will be happy to welcome him here," said Nový Bor mayor and IGS president Jaromír Dvořák.

IGS glassmakers will be working under the auspices of the President of Liberec region

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 1,000,000 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.