This was yet another day to which I had been looking forward for quite some time. In my emails back and forth to my Lauscha host, André Gutgesell, I had asked if there was a place that manufactured tools for flameworking nearby to Lauscha. He had mentioned a company named Ilmenauer Glasmaschinenbau that was located about an hour away in the town of Ilmenau. The drive to Ilmenau took us through the dense Thuringian Forest, which was absolutely beautiful. We came down out of the mountains into the town of Ilmenau and had to search for a small side-street that led over a river to a machine shop.
André parked the car, and we walked through a couple of quiet hallways that led to a non-descript showroom filled with beautifully crafted flameworking tools. André’s wife Rebekkah and the saleswoman, Sylvia, got a good laugh out of our excitement for all the shiny tools. We were very much like a couple of little boys in a candy shop. The Glasmaschinebau had torches and burners of all sizes and shapes, all sorts of interesting hand-tools, and many different studio accessories that I had never even imagined. I didn’t even bother to contain myself with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I bought a few tools for myself and a few for the Museum.
While in Ilmenau, we stopped by the local borosilicate supplier. He had a garage filled with cases of Kavalier glass in all sizes. André picked up some special rods for our friend Eunsuh Choi. She will be doing a residency at the European Museum for Glass in Coburg next week. That museum was the next stop on our travels that day, but not before we stopped for a special lunch.
André and Rebekkah were excited to have special Curry Bratwurst at a small restaurant in Coburg. The restaurant was located in the middle of a furniture store. Local knowledge can be very helpful. The bratwursts were delicious!
The European Museum for Glass has a wonderful selection of glass from some of the most renowned masters of contemporary glass art. We had a great visit, which included seeing their flameworking studio, and then headed on to the Coburg Castle.
This majestic castle was built high upon a hill that over-looks the whole region. It was originally built in 1056 BCE for the Barons who ruled over the region. In addition to the amazing architecture and views, they have an extensive museum of the many different luxuries that were possessions of the Barons. The collection included very fine clothing, furniture, home accessories, weaponry, and, of course, glassware.
André and Rebekkah also had a visit scheduled with their friend who is the official photographer for the castle. While visiting with the photographer and consulting his expertise, we ran into a couple of the curators. When André mentioned I was visiting from Corning, they mentioned that they had recently met our curator of modern glass, Tina Oldknow. Tina had visited a few years back to judge a prestigious glass exhibition.
Upon finishing our visit to the castle, we were all exhausted. It was time to make the hour-long drive back to Lauscha for dinner and some rest to prepare for yet another action-packed day.
On Day Three, we visited the glass school in Lauscha, the studio for the glass eye-makers, and the private studio of figurative sculptor John Zinner. Stay tuned…