GLASS FACTS by Glass & Art

GLASS FACTS by Glass & Art

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Glassblowing: it's a man's job!

 Flameworking, especially making beads, is in Northern Europe often seen as a suitable form glass art for women. It has been since the 19th century, when women were making small objects like beads and light bulbs in torches. This in contrast to "real" glassblowing, which is still often seen as a man's job, though this is very unjustified!

True, for blowing really large objects, you need several strong people. Glass is heavy and blowing large objects is hard work. But who ever said that women cannot work hard? For all glass techniques, including traditional glassblowing: there is no reason why women cannot do it!!!

Since ancient times, there have always been female glassblowers, even though it was not always officially allowed. Neikais a mid-first century glassblower of the East Mediterranean, was most probably female,

Katinka Waelbers (PhD) working at her own Glass & Art Studios.

and if so she is the oldest known female glassblower. Other known names of female glassblowers are Sentia Secunda of Aquileia and Ennia Fortuna (both Roman, first century).

Since the 20th century, female glassblowers became more and more accepted. More women would join and the women who joined could sign their work with their own name (instead of using the name a of male master). Famous European glass artist and designers of the first half of the  20th century include:

  • Suzanne Lalique Haviland, daughter of René Lalique,
  • Monica Bratt, an artistic director at Reijmyre from 1938-1958
  • Tyra Lundgren (1897-1979), designer for Riihimäki, Kosta, and Venini
  • Ingeborg Lundin (1921-1992) , designer for Orrefors
  • Monica Morales-Schildt (1908-?), who initially worked for Gustafsberg
  • Gerda Strömberg (1879 - 1960) - worked by Eda and Strömbergshütte

These days, in almost all countries there are many, many women working as a glass blower, also independently, just like the creator of this website!. There is absolute no reason to state that creating glass art is a man's job!

For more The Corning Museum of Glass has published a quite nice article on the history of women in glass, see: