“Tomas Hillebrand in Japan”, written by Marcel Brouwer and with landscape photography by Atsushi Okuyama, De stichting Van Vlissingen Art Foundation (2013)
The book is for sale in The Netherlands at:
Athenaeum, Spui 14-16, Amsterdam
Stedelijk Museum bookshop
Museum Jan van der Togt
Glass blowing – the pure form of glass
GLASSBLOWING IS A LABOUR-INTENSIVE AND PRECISE PROFESSION THAT REQUIRES WELL-EQUIPPED WORKSHOPS AND SKILLS. THERE ARE ONLY A FEW CENTRES IN THE NETHERLANDS WHERE THIS PROFESSION IS PRACTICED. THERE IS FOR INSTANCE THE TRADITIONAL GLASS WORKS IN THE TOWN OF LEERDAM WHERE ARTISTS HAD THEIR FIRST GLASS DESIGNS MANUFACTURED IN THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY.
Some well-known names are associated with the Leerdam glassworks. Among them are the Dutch architects Charles Peter Cornelis de Bazel and Hendrik Petrus Berlage and the American Frank Lloyd Wright. These impressive contacts were established in the period between the wars by the then factory director Peter Marinus Cochius. His former director’s mansion still houses the Dutch National Glass Museum. The glass-blowing section of the glass works – nowadays called “Royal Leerdam Crystal” – is still active today. It is part of the “Royal Delft” company, which also includes one of the oldest Dutch pottery factories “The Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles”, and it still produces glass designed by artists.
Another important centre for the production of glass is the Van Tetterode Glass Studio in Amsterdam, a company that was founded in 1919. Besides the production of blown glass, this company also focuses on the execution of monumental projects often involving flat glass, steel or a combination of the two. Van Tetterode has a highly professional glassworks which houses one of the largest glass furnaces in Europe. This oven was purchased from the English glassblower and artist Neil Wilkin. Like the glassworks in Leerdam, Van Tetterode mainly realises the designs of architects and artists. One of the most skilled glassblowers who works there is Richard Price, born in Hampshire in England in 1960. He not only produces his own glass art there, but also realises the designs of fellow artists.
After finishing his education in England, Richard Price in 1982 started at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam in the glass department, which was at that time headed by glass artists Mieke Groot and Richard Meitner. In the following ten years, Price assisted glass artists in France and Italy, including the world-famous glassblower Lino Tagliapietra. He developed such an all-round level – besides glassblowing he also specialised in the pâte de verre technique, casting glass into moulds – that he reached the level of master craftsman. Price currently divides his time between the Netherlands, where he works for Van Tetterode, and Thailand where he resides a few months every year.
Text written by Marcel Brouwer | Translation by Bert Verheij | Photography by Niculai Constantinescu