Factory: Zelezny Brod Sklo
Designer: Professor Jaroslav Brychta
Date of design: c1962
This colourful and quirky ‘Fantastic Bird’ figurine was made using the lampworking process, where glass is heated using a hand held or desk-mounted blowtorch. Once ductile and malleable, the glass can be pulled, bonded together and blown using fine tools. The process is historic, and is most commonly associated with the creation of laboratory glassware. Brychta is best known and celebrated for his designs of figurines, produced over a 40 year career, which were made in either blown or solid glass. Many depict everyday people, such as musicians, tradesmen or sportsmen, and the tone is typically humourous or whimsical. All are highly stylised and vary from almost comical depictions of characters to strongly abstracted, sculptural forms – as here.
This example is extremely finely blown and the paper-thin glass gives a very light weight. The heat of the blowtorch used has given unique swirling ‘veils’ to the vibrant purple glass. These appear a creamy white in reflected light, but take on sandy tones when light is transmitted through the piece. Artistic, stylised forms such as this are much scarcer than depictions of comical human characters, and were undoubtedly made in very small quantities. Their incredible delicacy means that many were broken over the years, making this a rare survivor of his highly desirable artistic designs.
7.5in (19cm) high.
Similar spikey, lampworked forms can be seen in Zivé Sklo written by Brychta and the important academic Dr Milos Volf and published by Vydalo SNTL in 1977. Images from this publication are shown here.
About The Designer
Professor Jaroslav Brychta (1895-1971) studied at the Prague School of Decorative Arts from 1912-18 under Professors Drahonovsky and Kloucek. From 1920-60, he was a professor at the Specialised School of Glassmaking at Zelezny Brod, and directed the Glass Figurine department and school. His work can be found in many public and private collections, and eas displayed at many prestigious exhibitions including the International Expositions in Paris (1937), Brussels (1958) and Montréal (1967).