Viewing the hot sculpted work of Prague’s Martin Janecký inspires a sensation akin to gazing upon precious and antique art treasures from around the globe. His glass busts in white or black glass remind us that the human form speaks volumes about beauty, history, hope and art in a way that no other object could.
Born in the Czech Republic in 1980, Janecký began working with glass at the age of 13 at his father’s factory. His secondary school training at Novy Bor concentrated on the creation of glass art and introduced him to artists and designers from around the world that hired him to execute their ideas. In 2003, the young artist made his first trip to the United States where he studied at the Pilchuck Glass School under Richard Royal and William Morris. Among Janecký’s most recognized strengths was his mastering of blowing and sculpting “inside the bubble,” the technique used in the creation of his startling original works.
Before long, Janecký became a highly sought teacher in his field. He has taught, demonstrated and exhibited in Europe, America, Australia, Africa and Asia, to include the Corning Museum of Glass, Pilchuck Glass School, Chrysler Museum of Art, UrbanGlass, the Rietveld Academy in Holland, Bornholm Design School in Denmark, the Australian National University in Canberra, and the Toyama City Institute of Glass Art in Japan, among many.
Following a 2013 visit to Mexico, Janecký embarked on an exploration of the human skull in a tribute to Dia de Muertos, an outgrowth of his passion for the culture and people of Mexico. He says: “The willingness of the Mexican people to share this occasion with an outsider like me, someone from a totally different environment, was a humbling experience that inspired me to want to create a body of work that honors and celebrates this amazing event. My plan was to recreate iconic examples of this culture in glass, which had never been done on this scale. I did so with humility and a huge respect for Mexico’s history and culture.”
Janecký’s homeland,The Czech Republic, is rightfully proud of its own globally recognized tradition of glassmaking. Writes Dr. Petr Nový, Head Curator, Museum of Glass Jablonec nad Nisou, Czech Republic:
“Martin Janecký’s expressive realism is somewhat alien to the Czech art scene, meaning it isn’t always met with a clear sense of comprehension. It is as if non-abstract works should primarily be viewed as handicraft instead of art. But in Janecký’s case, superb handicraft serves as a springboard for this unique artist to be able to capture emotions in his glass works. And such power is something we find only very rarely in the contemporary world of studio glass art. …
“Janecký has earned a rightful place among the greatest not just Czech, but also global, stars of the glass art scene. His original works are generating great enthusiasm among galleries and collectors, including from global celebrities. His successes are not just the result of talent, creativity, and artistic boldness, but chiefly a considerable amount of hard work. Expertise in the field of glass art requires constant application and searching out new limits – and that is only possible with an all-encompassing day-to-day dedication. Although Janecký’s confidence as an artist has undoubtedly grown, he nonetheless remains humble with regards to his chosen material, knowing there is still so much to discover. And this approach is evidently one of the key reasons why Martin Janecký’s glass works are so remarkably distinct.”
The Corning Museum of Glass is a proud collaborator on an exciting, new competition series, Blown Away—created by producers marblemediaand a co-production of Netflix andBlue Ant Media of Toronto. The 10-episode show, which will bring the art of glassblowing to a global audience through the Netflix streaming platform, will launch on July 12, 2019.
The show follows a group of 10 highly skilled glassmakers from North America who have a limited time to fabricate beautiful works of art that are assessed by a panel of expert judges. One artist is eliminated in each 30-minute episode until a winner is announced in the 10th and final episode. YouTube star Nick Uhas, best known for his popular science show Nickipedia, hosts Blown Awayand renowned artist Katherine Gray serves as the “resident evaluator.”
The series was filmed in the largest glassblowing studio ever built in North America, designed specifically for the scope and scale of the competition. The space allows 10 artists to work simultaneously, using two large glass-melting furnaces, 10 reheating furnaces and 10 individual work stations. The Craft and Design Glass Studio at Sheridan College in Toronto consulted on the studio design and aided the competitors for the first nine episodes.
The Corning Museum of Glass, which houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of glass, the library of record on glass, and one of the top glassmaking schools in the world, served as a key consulting partner on the series. Eric Meek, Senior Manager of Hot Glass Programs at CMoG also served as a “guest evaluator” for the series finale, helping to select the winner of the competition.
The winner of Blown Awayis awarded the title of “Best in Blow” and a prize package valued at $60,000, which includes a week-long Guest Artist appearance at CMoG. The winner will complete two working sessions this summer, July 17-18 and August 28-29, in preparation for the “Blown AwayResidency,” October 14-18. During these times, the winner will participate in glassmaking demonstrations for the public in CMoG’s Amphitheater Hot Shop.
This summer, CMoG is displaying the exhibit Blown Away:Glassblowing Comes to Netflix, which tells the story of how the Museum found its way into the global spotlight. Visitors can see work created on the show by each competitor, and watch a behind-the-scenes documentary with interviews conducted on the set and footage captured of the Museum’s Hot Glass Demo Team taking part in the finale.
“The Corning Museum of Glass inspires people to see glass in a new light,” said Eric Meek. “Blown Away is a global platform, and it’s exciting to think about how this will broaden glassmaking’s level of exposure.”
For a complete list of contestants and judges visiting talking our your glass.com, click on Season 4, click on Blown Away. Or visit www.cmog.organd search for Blown Away.
Thanks to our sponsors His Glassworks, Inc, Sunshine Glassworks Ltd., Bullseye Glass company and the Corning Museum of Glass.
I’ll begin the show asking Donna Luke, Blue Marble’s vice president of production, about the behind the scenes story of Blown Away. Then I visit with Eric Meek about the Corning Museum of Glass’ role in the program, and finish up by interviewing one of the judges, Katherine Gray.
Blown Away contestants include
Guest evaluators include