On behalf of The London Journalist artist and designer Emilia Salcedo embarked on an unforgettable journey to visit the factory of Czech glassmakers Moser, just outside of Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic.
The Enchanting World of Moser
‘It is the material of fairy tales’ I mused upon visiting the extraordinary area of Karlovy Vary - just 50 miles out of Prague.
Moser is renowned as one of the oldest and finest glass manufacturers in Europe, their reputation maintained by their constant adaptations of their products and shapes, drawing reference from history’s past as well as the future of innovation.
Innovating trade and manufacturing, has engaged Moser with modern collaborations with new artist engravers and skilful manufacturers of other products like their collaboration with furniture makers Linley seen here.
Their considerable influence as luxury glassmakers throughout the world has gained them the title of ‘the glass of Kings’, thus it was decided I, as an artist and craftswoman, should visit the magical town of Karlovy Vary and the original factory that Ludwig Moser started up over 160 years ago…
I had heard Karlovy Vary to be a fashionable destination for aristocrats, composers, philanthropists, poets and artists, due to its famed therapeutic warm water springs. Notably the German poet Goethe and Russian Tsar Peter the Great are said to have passed through. It is no surprise then that, when travelling from Prague, this exuberant region drew me, as a fellow in-the-know visitor, into its dark mysterious depths only to open up (as if by magic) into one of the most opulent hidden cities I have ever seen. Strewn with mythic castles and glorious examples of architecture, the curved streets and beautiful parklands surrounding the river - which runs across the city- help set the scene for these natural springs which pump up to half a meter or so of hot drinkable water from the earth.These waters are said to cure and restore one's health, certainly the dramatic change of temperature to what one would expect along with the taste of minerals and salts gives credence to this theory…
It was in 1350, that these magnificent fresh spring waters were discovered during a hunt through the Locket Forest by Emperor Charles IV. When one of his dogs fell and drowned in a warm spring, the sad loss of the Emperor’s dog was softened by the profits to be made by this new auspicious discovery - later his lodge (built in 1358) heralded the emergence of this new town blessed by bounteous waters. He subsequently founded the first spa called ‘Warm bath’ and granted the new community that developed at Karlovy h
Karlovy Vary is not just blessed by beautiful natural lands, springs and gardens peppered with multi coloured fluorescent flowers but also a kind of alchemical magic which produces the colours of Moser’s universally heralded glassware. The colours which are the key to their success.
Ludwig Moser himself, was a visionary and highly creative engraver with an enterprising streak, who could not resist building his own glass factory just outside of this magnificent town 160 years ago. His production started in 1857, firstly with an exclusive range of engraved, decorative beverage set, which won the admiration and respect of his peers. Since then he also participated in industrial exhibitions and set new trends in glassmaking - winning him many awards due to his light artistic touch and fresh-minded composition - synonymous with luxury.
After the Biedermeier period, arts and craft in the West began to look back upon Oriental influences, thanks to the boom in archaeology. The West’s retrospective from history to antiquity to empire became the new fashion in the arts - with more exotic countries giving birth to the Art Nouveau movement.
This inspired Ludwig Moser to create and focus on marketing and producing pieces provide emotional joy for the owner and indeed user. This new approach catapulted him to success, gaining him the world’s admiration and respect.
We visited the factory itself and witnessed the painstaking, highly skilled work that takes place, and I even got a chance to blow my very own Moser glass as well as engrave it. It was a true honour as a fellow craftswoman to sit at the desk of one of these highly trained glassmakers and learn from the masters.
Moser is indeed an institution, producing the finest quality of glassware in the world. - Truly the stuff of dreams, and something tells me that such masterpieces could not be conceived in any less magical of a place.