星期四, 3月 29, 2007

Blowing Hot Air - The Art of Glass


Remember those perfect pieces of brightly colored hard candy with colors so beautiful and shiny that your mouth watered just looking at them and your little hand crept out to take one when the grown ups weren’t looking ? And, then they turned out to be glass?

TEXT: HELEN MuRPHY
IMAGES: HELEN MuRPHY, COuRTESY OF TITTOT



The Tittot Glass Museum is the kind of place that you go to and wonder why you have never been there before. Housed in a converted glassmaking factory, it has everything from exhibitions of glass art from around the world, live demonstrations of glass blowing, and a variety of hands-on classes for all ages. Situated within easy walking distance of Guandu MRT station, the Tittot is a museum that will appeal to the whole family. Glass has a fascinating history. Ever since it was first discovered in 2500 BC, man has sought ways to shape it to create both beautiful and functional objects. From the Egyptian craftsmen in 1500BC, who used the hollow glass production method to make eating vessels, through the development of glass blowing during the first century AD in the Roman Empire, and up to later advances such as the production of glass sheets perfected by Venetian craftsmen in the 13th century, glasswork has become more and more sophisticated and ornate. And while glasswork existed in China at least from the fifth century BC, the traditional Chinese preference for jade meant that it was not the preferred material of artisans. This changed during the Qing dynasty when the Emperor Kang-xi established a glass workshop in his palace in 1696. It was run by a German Jesuit priest, a skilled glassmaker who produced glass works that combined European knowledge with Chinese skills. Similarly, the founder of the Tittot Museum, Heinrich Wang, draws on both Eastern and Western influences to create glass works that are distinctly Taiwanese in flavor.

Heinrich Wang is a household name in Taiwan. After initial forays into acting and directing movies (among other things) he was gradually drawn towards working with glass after being captivated by a glass paperweight. After studying in America, he returned to Taiwan and established the first glass studio, Liuli Gong Fang (New Workshop) and produced glass pieces using the “Lost Wax” method. Wang’s pieces are highly regarded in art circles and are collected by many international museums, including the Beijing National Palace Museum and Britain’s Victoria and Albert Museum of Art and Crafts. He established the Tittot Museum in 1999 as a way to showcase not only Taiwanese glass art, but also international works.

The works of art featured on the second floor of the museum come from around the world. They are testimony to a growing worldwide trend of appreciation and awareness of glass as an artistic medium. Many of the creations are so life-like that it is hard to credit that they are actually made out of glass. Particular favorites of mine are the exquisite paperweights made by Paul J. Stankard, each a tiny garden of flowers, leaves and a dragonfly created within a glass bubble. The second floor also explains the Lost Wax technique used to create all Tittot glass works. This method is a long and painstaking process requiring the creation of a new plaster mold for every individual piece of art. Carefully selected glass is then placed in the mold in a specific order, so that when the mold is placed in a kiln (heated to 850º Centrigrade), the glass melts and fuses together to produce the distinctive Tittot look. Large works can take up to six months to fully cool down.







Joy huang, an artist at Tittot Glass Museum, shaping molten glass into a beautiful figure.


After visiting the exhibitions upstairs, we were lucky enough during our visit to watch a demonstration by the museum’s resident glass blowing artist, Joy Huang. Born in Kaohsiung, Joy spent many years in Europe, studying and working in the UK, Germany and Norway to perfect her technique. Since her return to Taiwan she has studied aboriginal culture and is trying to incorporate different cultural elements into her works. While she makes many beautiful objects, such as hand-blown glasses and pitchers that are available in the gift shop, Joy’s great love is creating Taiwanese-style glass works of art. It was fascinating to see her in her element in the workshop. We watched her make a handblown glass from scratch, first getting the molten glass out of the kiln, and then shaping, blowing, and finally applying the glaze. Thanks to her travels, Joy is fluent in English and can easily explain the glass blowing process and answer any questions you may have. You may even get called on to give her a hand. On our visit, we helped in the making of glass sticks by stretching out a piece of glass across the length of the workshop. I highly recommend bringing the kids to see a live demonstration - they will be absolutely fascinated.

Forthose who fancy a more hands - on approach, the museum offers a variety of classes, everything from making glass pendants, beads, and paperweights to glass blowing, glass painting, sand blasting and glass slumping. The slumping class involves making and applying decorations to a glass plate, which is then heated and shaped. The classes have age limits depending on the difficulty level and safety requirements, so check with the museum for details. Prices are reasonable and you will have a unique opportunity to create your own work of art. The museum caters to foreign visitors with Englishspeaking staff, and school groups are welcome. Guided tours are available with advance notice, and it is also advisable to inquire prior to visiting about times for live demonstrations. The museum can also be rented out for functions, providing a unique venue for special events. “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful,” said William Morris. He could have been talking about glass.

GETTING THERE
The best way to reach the museum is to take the Danshui MrT line
and get off at Guandu station, as parking is not easy to find. The
station is sign-posted from the station exit and is near Guandu wharf,
so a trip to Tittot Museum could easily be combined with a Blue
highway cruise down the river. The museum is open Tuesday to sunday 9-5 (closed Monday).
Tittott glass Museum
16, Lane 515, Zhongyang n. road, sec 4, Beitou
(臺北市中央北路四段515巷16號)
Tel: (02) 2895-8861.
http://www.tittot.com/

Helen Murphy is a long-term resident of Taipei.
Originally from Australia, she is the mother
of a four-year old and is currently pursuing a
Master’s Degree in Taiwan Studies at National
ZhengZhi University, majoring in prison history.
文摘自Centered on Taipei (March07) http://www.community.com.tw/

6 則留言:

匿名 提到...

Hi.., My name is Patricia from Indonesia, last year i went to Tittot and had some workshop with Frank. Your glass work is very nice. Can i have your email, i want to ask you more about glass??
Thank you.(p4trice_u@yahoo.com)

Joy Huang 提到...

Hi Patricia
Thank you for your comments,
My email is joyhuangstudioglass@yahoo.com.tw
but you can talk to me on bloger also.

see you soon

joy

celia wong 提到...

Hi my name is celia from Hong Kong, as I am interested in blowing glass art and i had few experience, I would like to know will u have any short term workshop (1 or 2 days) or any you can introduce to me that I can take while I will travel to Taiwan at the end of August?

I search Hsinchu glass art museum, seems no recent workshop available.

Your glass art work is attractive and here is the link of my primary level glass blowing work


You got any 1 or 2 days lesson provide? and how much you cost?

thanks and nice to meet you here

celia

Joy Huang 提到...

Hi Celia

I am sorry, my own studio is still not open yet for hot glass.

The Hsinchu glass art museum has blowing cours in next week 11~14, but the courss were full in tow days after open for registere and blowing lave-II will begin form 8/16 ~ 10/4 in every weekend.

maybe you can try next year, the Hsinchu glass art museum has course for blowing, Fusing , Touch work,,,every year summer time.

next yeaar be quick.

joy

Ronin 提到...

Joy, are glass-blowing classes offered every weekend?

Joy Huang 提到...

Hi Ronin
The glass blowing classes in Hsin Chu city glass museum only offered in summer time.