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Masters of glass craft - unique temporary exhibition is open!

During the holiday in the Craft Museum - the Piwnica PodCieniami Gallery you can visit a unique exhibition dedicated to Krosno Glassworks "KROSNO" S.A., which features the works of designers, glassworkers and glass decorators created between 1924 and 2008.

This multimedia exhibition presents history of the factory in the context of its beginnings, expansion, technological processes of glass works manufacturing as well as glass craft learning. It also concentrates on sport and cultural activities organised by the work place. The exhibition presents the most dominating trends in glass craft; it shows the 'after hours' artworks of glassworkers and techniques of glass ornamenting. Many exhibits make family souvenirs, which have been presented to the wide audience for the first time.

The exhibition allows us to know, see and hear the biggest in Poland and one of the biggest in the world factory manufacturing glass.

As any other story concerning craft, this one could begin with words: ...even the ancient Phoeniciami... Our history, however, is not rooted so deeply. Admittedly, the exhibition is devoted to the history of glass craft, but only to Krosno Glassworks.

This year we celebrate the 85th anniversary of the existence of glass industry in Krosno and the 50th anniversary of the functioning of the oldest glassworks - Krosno Glassworks. This is the sufficient reason for presenting Masters of glassworks in the Piwnica PodCieniami Gallery.

The exhibition is open from 13th June to 16th August 2008

A ticket for the Masters of glass craft - Krosno Glassworks exhibition at the Piwnica PodCieniami Gallery entitles the bearer to:
5% shopping discount at Centrum Dystrybucji Szkła i Ceramiki KHS "KROSNO" S.A. (Centre of Glass and Ceramics Distribution of Krosno Glassworks "KROSNO" S.A.), 10% discount for the clients of the Stara Huta Restaurant.

The exhibition, which has been under prepare by the Museum of Craft in Krosno and Krosno Glassworks Krosno S.A. for a year, has its own chequered history. The number of conceptions, title changes, consultations and ideas as to what to present and how to do it, seems to be the reflection of such a big enterprise. As we may notice, this is the history of not only some work place, but also of the town, many families which for generations have created a clan of 'those who work at a glassworks' - glassworkers, chemists, electricians, mechanics, engineers, technicians, designers, blacksmiths, locksmiths, engravers, glass painters, lawyers and many more people without whom the factory would not be able to exist.

Polish Glassworks - a joint-stock company with its registered office in Krosno was signed up for the trade register on 31st May 1920. It emerged on the initiative of a Kraków lawyer and entrepreneur Michał Berkowicz. In 1923 the company purchased from Countess Maria Kaczkowska an estate with a 19th century 'palace' situated in the south part of Krosno. The shareholders set about working on the building of a glassworks in the purchased territory.

And so begins the history of glass in Krosno - why here? Probably the decision was dictated by the existing rail connection with Krakow and the accessibility of cheap and high-calorie fuel, that is natural gas, abundant in this territory. However, there were little difficulties in finding suitable workers - qualified glassworkers - masters of glass craft. They were searched for by 'hunters' in various parts of Poland and abroad. Encouraged by high salaries and apartments Germans, Czechs, as well as workers from Lower Silesia, Bukowina, Hungary, and Romania settled in Krosno.

Secrets of glass technology were handed down from father to son. It was rather hard for a 'stranger' to get a master title. In fact, a master himself, even the most skillful, received hardly any education: three, four forms of a primary school - that was it. There were no vocational schools in the field of glass; similarly there was no strong tradition in this sphere: the Italian, French, Germans and Czechs were ahead of us - recalls Fryderyk Knoll.

In January 1924 the first products were manufactured in Krosno Glassworks, and the 20s witnessed not only the development of the company but also its first great successes. Krosno glass products became famous, and in 1929 they were awarded a gold medal and a certificate for their 'production in its entirety' by Minister of Industry and Trade of the Republic of Poland Eugeniusz Kwiatkowski at the Common National Exhibition in Poznan. The reconstruction and development of the glassworks after the war damage caused it that in the consciousness of Poles Krosno began to be associated not only with petroleum and linen, but, what is more important, also with beautiful glass works. Especially that since 1958 there has been a term 'Krosno' in the name of the glassworks.

The Masters of glass craft exhibition does not serve as another action promoting Krosno Glassworks - there are many of them during trade fairs. The idea behind the exhibition was to show the picture of the glassworks during all the years of its functioning here, in Krosno, through the eyes of people who made this place. These are pictures reconstructed from the memory of workers, photos taken years ago, not only those kept in archives but also those taken from family albums; these are chronicles, press articles, the propaganda of success together with real life. These, finally, are contemporary Krosno Glassworks.

Inviting you for the exhibition we hope that we managed to present not only beautiful Krosno glass but also a place and times in which it developed. The fashion for Krosno glass - we hope - will last. In the past it was ordered for the residences of kings, apartments of party notables and the leaders of great countries; it decorated tables, display cabinets and TVs in flats of many typical Polish families. And today... Krosno makes one of few recognizable in the world brands of Polish industry and design; and so be it. May the masters of glass craft - beautiful and elegant glass - be associated above all with KROSNO.

Ewa Mańkowska
Director of the Craft Museum in Krosno