A 1970s Josef Hospodka for Prachen Bowl

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Factory: Prachen, near Novy Bor
Designer: Josef Hospodka
Date of design: 1969
Produced: 1970s

Hospodka began working at the Prachen glassworks, a branch of the Borské Sklo group, in 1969. The simple forms designed and produced there almost appear like mechanical components, or are modernised versions of Classical forms such as the goblet or baluster.

These were embellished with a variety of randomly applied shapes, including spots impressed with a grid-like pattern, prunts impressed with a circle and dots (as here), stylised leaves, or randomly trailed and pooled glass impressed with any of the aforementioned motifs. All were a new departure for Hospodka, and are quite unlike the curving, bud- or flower-like designs he produced during the 1950s & 60s for the Chribskà glassworks.

The contrast between the angular form and the randomly placed, almost organic decoration is unusual, and is suggestive of outer space, futuristic technology, or alien life forms. Hospodka no doubt knew of the moon landing, and was perhaps inspired by this. Colour is an important aspect of the design – although they appear to be a matching green, the applied motifs are actually blue (see detail), and only appear green when viewed with the body. Other body colours used include amber, pink, and light and dark blue – this lime green colour is very rare indeed. The range appears not to have been very successful at the time, despite the practicality of the forms, and examples in general can be scarce today.

6.5in (16.5cm) widest.

This range was launched in the State’s trade publication Czechoslovak Glass Review in January 1970, and an image from the launch article is shown here as a detail. The range was also featured in Hi Sklo Lo Sklo: Postwar Czech Glass Design From Masterpiece to Mass-Produced by Mark Hill, published in 2008, p.41.

About The Designer
Josef Hospodka (1923-89) studied at the State School for Graphic Arts in Prague from 1938-40, followed by the School for Decorative Arts in Prague from 1940-45 under Professor Holecek. He was then head of the glass cutting department at the Specialised School for Glassmaking at Novy Bor from 1945-51, headmaster at the Chribskà glassworks training school from 1951-58, and head designer at the Borské Sklo glassworks from 1858-60, and from 1964-70.  He is best-known for his many highly successful and prolifically produced colourful and curving hot-worked designs produced for Chribskà, of which he was a director from 1960-64.

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