Factory: Skrdlovice, Czechoslovakia
Designer: Frantisek Vízner
Date of design: 1976
Produced: Late 1970s onwards
A visually impressive, highly decorative and eye-catching piece. Frantisek Vízner’s designs for the Skrdlovice glassworks are united by their monumental feel, a use of often complex techniques, and an exploration of form, texture, light, and optical effects. Forms used by Vízner are typically simple and minimal, with the cylinder and bowl recurring frequently. Bowls are particularly interesting, as Vízner focused on this form in his unique studio works made from finely polished optical glass in resonant colours. Designed a year before Vízner left Skrdlovice to pursue his studio works nearly full time, this charger can perhaps be considered as the ‘diffusion range’ to his haute couture unique studio works that typically fetch thousands of pounds or dollars.
The large size, bold colour, and gently curved dish form create a dramatic visual effect, but one that is also calm due to the balance and proportion. This drama is accentuated by inclusion of mica powder and random air bubbles in a controlled spiral pattern. Mica is a form of silicate mineral, and the name is derived from the Latin word mica, meaning ‘a crumb’, and also hints at the verb micare, meaning ‘to glitter’. The sandy texture of the mica powder also contrasts with the shiny, glassy interior and exterior surfaces. Depending on the source and movement of the light, the pattern appears differently. Reflected light bounces off the shiny glass surface and the mica, creating a sparkling effect, and back-lighting accentuates the spiral of the pattern and brings out the resonant strength of the blue glass.
This design, numbered 7627, was produced in this strong and deep cobalt blue and in a vibrant green. It was also produced with gold or silver mica inclusions – both versions are available. The range also included cylinder vases in different sizes. As all Skrdlovice glass was entirely handmade, every pieces differs in terms of the precise colour tone, size, and pattern. This fine example is in excellent, original condition.
14.75in (37cm) diam
This design is shown in Beranek & Skrdlovice: Legends of Czech Glass by Robert Bevan Jones & Jindrich Parik, published by Mark Hill Publishing, 2014, p.69. it was also featured in Czechoslovak Glass Review shortly after its launch.
About The Designer
Frantisek Vízner (1936-2011) was one of the most important, innovative, and internationally influential Czech glass designers of the 20th century. He took an apprenticeship in glass painting at the Primary School for Glassmaking at Novy Bor in 1951, before studying at the Specialised School for Glassmaking in Zelezny Brod from 1953-56. He then studied at the Academy of Applied Art under professors Karel Stipl and Plátek from 1956-62. After graduating, he produced progressive pressed glass designs for the Sklo Union group of factories. In 1967, he became a lead designer at the Skrdlovice glassworks, before becoming an independent studio glass artist in 1977. His work can be found in many museums and important institutions and his studio works regularly fetch thousands, or tens of thousands, of pounds/dollars when sold.