Once in a while though – you find some treasure that is a real work of art – these ones are glass trophies that I would have in my cabinet any day. However, I do feel that the glass artists could be a great deal more innovative with their creativity. May be I am wrong and I will trust that if you find glass art trophies worth shouting about – you will let me know. When you look at the works of artists such as Lalique who did the most incredible glass sculptures, it is a shame that these days many of the glass trophies are so dull and boring especially when you consider the material itself is so flexible and fascinating. Light becomes an integral part of the work making it come alive changing with the mood of the environment and how it catches the light.
What is glass and can the material itself be a source of inspiration for designing new glass trophies?
Definition of Glass: i) A substance usually transparent, lustrous, hard and brittle, made by fusing soda or potash or both with other ingredients. ii) Any of various other substances of similar properties or composition; any more or less rigid substance which has solidified from a molten state without adopting a regular internal (crystalline) structure. iii) The substance thus obtained considered as the material from which articles for use or ornament are made and so on…..
Glass can be made from many more materials than just silica. Its unique characteristics lend itself to innovative techniques – many of which are yet to be discovered. For me the integral aspects of light and colour creating something that is alive and often constantly changing makes it a fantastic material to work with –you just never know what form it is going to take from one day to the next.
Why are trophies trophies? Why are they so important and what do they symbolise?
Definition of Trophy: a memorial of victory, originally arms or other spoils set up on the spot. Displayed spoils, such as skulls and antlers; a piece of plate or suchlike awarded as a prize; a memorial of success, glory, etc. and ornamental group of weapons, flags, etc..
I guess that it would not be politically correct, or morally and ethically proper to display the skulls of your opponents in the egg and spoon race when you have had a glorious victory. Warring neighbours when differences have been resolved would no doubt be shunned by society if they were to place the triumphant stake at the boundary with some gruesome body part impaled upon it declaring who was the winner. These images might have been true of an age far off in the dim distant past of our ancestors – hopefully never to be repeated – but what this might illustrate is the significance of having trophies in the first place. In certain cultures and sectors within our own British culture, the triumphant display of hunting trophies which consist of animal parts, is supposedly acceptable practice. Although this was probably more common place a century or two ago, in many parts this is not quite such a fashionable thing to do. For many competitive souls – these symbols of achievement are everything. So if these trophies mean so much, then does it not follow that the actual trophy itself should be an item of considerable value – either monetary and/or aesthetically?
Creating originally designed glass trophies – is it possible to come up with trophies made using glass that fill us with inspiration as well as pride?
Bronze sculptures or even some of the beautifully crafted gold and silver cups that are created as mementoes and trophies in the various sporting arenas can be incredible. Even some of the mass produced ones can be retain that element of inspiration and sense of acknowledged achievement. May be this is down to my programming and the historical significance of family accolades? It stands to reason though that the glass trophies should be equally creative and symbolically significant.
The crystal bowls and vases are never going to really be to my taste however, if the glass is of an amazingly high quality lead crystal then I might be seduced by the lustre and sparkle. If the hand cut pattern work illustrates impressive skill and the design work has something different about it – then I could perhaps be persuaded to like it a bit better. In an ideal world I would like to see significant creative license being given to glass artists to allow their inspiration a completely free rein. This would surely enable them to come up with the most inspired and inspiring works of art to be treasured for many generations.
Why just cut glass and tombstone glass slabs? Surely we can do better than that?
I know that it is possible to come up with something completely different because I have done it. Although the organic creatures that I made out of copper foiled stained glass might not have been to everyone’s taste they fulfilled the required role of making a statement that marked a significant triumph. The designs were very organic but they made the best of the serendipitous nature of light glowing through the many layers of coloured glass. The many colours that emerged and changed as you studied it from variety of angles was fascinating. Sadly I don’t have any images to show because they were made over twenty years ago but I am sure that you can conjure something up in your imagination that is considerably different to the normal crystal glass trophy available today.
Finding something a little more interesting for your glass trophies.
After a bit of searching on the internet I came across the Isle of Wight Studio glass shop – and as far as I am concerned this is more like it. These pieces have spirit, a life of their own. In my view they are perhaps something that people will want to treasure and keep on display for many years to come – not just for their triumphant meaning but because they are pleasing to the eye as well.
Ultimately I am aware that choosing an appropriate trophy to mark a significant achievement, a glass one or not, is very much down to individual choice. Committee decisions often lead to picking the safer alternatives especially when there is a tight budget to consider. However, I would urge you to consider the life of the trophy and perhaps encourage you to consider choosing something that will not only stand the test of time and fading fashions, but will retain its triumphant values as well as its aesthetic ones.