Monday, March 3, 2008
I and my family have been quite busy lately. Even though the last month is a little bit shorter it has been fairly eventful. I went to Weiden, Germany to help my friend, the director of the school here, with and exhibition. We have been spending a lot of time around Kamenicky Senov and the neighboring city of Ceska Kamenice. I have also taken the chance to do some wondering around Senov to see some things that our friend Peter Rath recommended we see. During all of this I have found some time to write and work on my personal work. Finally, I have been spending the last few weeks with some students from Reinbach, Germany.
The exhibition in Weiden started with a trip to Mr. Janak's summer house about an hour south of Prague. We went there on a Thursday in the evening. I had the great pleasure of driving his car. It is a Skoda, Octavia. I mention the car because we do not have these in the states. I understand that the Skoda company is now owned by Volkswagen but they are producing a bit more economical vehicles with about the same quality.
We went to the summer house to pack and load the work. Then on friday we drove to Weiden. We unpacked and installed the exhibition. The other artist, which was chosen by Janak, is Jens Gussek. We spent the weekend here and left on Sunday. The opening for the exhibition was on Sunday at 11am. After the opening I had the pleasure to have lunch with Jiri Harcuba, a world renowned Czech Engraver. Mr. Harcuba is teaching at many places, especially in the United States. This summer he will be teaching at Pilchuck Glass School just north of Seattle.
On the way back to Senov we stopped at a very nice castle. This was the first castle I have seen that still had the moat partially intact.
Here are some websites that you might find interesting. The first is from the Bavarian/Bohemian Cultural Center in Weiden, Germany.
This second site is for the German Glass artist Jens Gussek.
The weather has been very warm lately. We have been taking advantage of it fully by taking some walks around Senov and spending time with some friends in Ceska Kamenice. Here in Kamenicky Senov, we visited Prachen, the basalt outcropping at the top of the mountain. Later, my son and I took a walk to find a crossroad marker that Mr. Rath recommended we see. This marker was reconditioned by Peter Rath. It marks the original crossroads here in Senov. If you are facing it and look to the right you will see the old road to Vienna and to the left is the road to Poland. This according to Mr. Rath. (See Photo)
Not far from this crossroad is the old glass factory of the Elias family. This was one of the largest factories at the time of its construction. Unfortunately, it has not been in operation for quite a long time. I am not sure how long but I would estimate at least 50 years. You can see by the photos that this was a very beautiful factory at one time. I have to say it is a great shame that some of these old factories were not taken care. It appears to be beyond saving now.
Our friends in Kamenice own a pub. They are very incredible and friendly people. One is from Canada and the other is Czech. They also have a beautiful daughter which just happens to be the same age as our son. It is so wonderful that we met them. Our children have developed a beautiful friendship. These friends own a pub in Kamenice and a shop that is joined to the pub. The pub is called Harold's. It is an American/Canadian/Czech pub. They play great music and in the summer have outdoor concerts. It is also non-smoking, which is a bit of a rarity here. Currently they do not have a website but please contact me if you will be visiting the Czech Republic and I will be happy to help you get there. By the way, Ceska Kamenice was voted as the most beautiful city in the Czech Republic a few years ago.
So I have started to do some writing in preparation for documenting my experience here in the Czech Republic. I hope to post some of this information in the future. It would be nice to get some feedback from others about the content. the writing is based on my experience and practice of cutting glass. I have been taking notes about the new work I am making in hopes to have a very accurate account of the traditional processes I am using.
This new work is very exciting to me. I have been flooded with ideas, greatly due to my experience here. I recently sent the first sculpture made her in Kamenicky Senov to a gallery in Seattle, Washington. The gallery is Pacini Lubel.
I have been working with 10 students from Reinbach, Germany. The school in Kamenicky Senov and Reinbach have a special relationship. About 50 years ago the teachers at the school in Senov were "encouraged" to leave. They did not have any place to take there talents. My understanding is that they went to Reinbach and were greeted with open arms. The locals in Reinbach were very clever to understand that valuable treasure that had befallen them.
After 1989, the schools were back in contact. Now they have an exchange that is supported by a European arts foundation. Every year students from Senov go to Reinbach and students from Reinbach come to Senov.
When the Reinbach students come they are taught some things that are traditionally taught here but not so much in Reinbach. They have classes in drawing, modeling, mold making (for casting in the kiln) and vitreography. Vitreography in this case refers to using glass plates for printing. The plates are cut and engraved, then rubbed with ink and ran through a printing press. I have been teaching the students modeling and mold making.
Today I am headed off for Prague. There is a lecture in the evening about the new visa regulations imposed by the Schengen states of the European Union. The Czech Republic entered into the Schengen boarder agreement at the end of December 2007. Since this time the situation for Americans in Czech Republic and the European Union has changed. It has created some difficulties for American that we were unable to have knowledge of until after we came. If the information tonight is significant I will post it. The intention would be to inform those coming here in the future so that they can avoid some of the misinformation problems and have a nice stay.