Glass, with its own very unique superiority, has been gradually popularized from one region to another through the changes of history until it has passed to every corner of the world. Before the industrial revolution, glass handicrafts existed in the mode of hand-made by artisans, and the value of glass products depended on the level of handicraft production.
Glasswork has a rich history and culture, with styles varying greatly from time to time and from region to region. Traditional handicrafts and modern mechanical crafts conflict with each other, and the uniform mechanization of production makes glass products popular in thousands of households, while also gradually losing the essence of traditional handicrafts. The good thing is that there are still many craftsmen and artists who are innovating their handmade artworks with the changes of the times, contributing their own efforts to the survival of handicrafts, and constantly seeking the development mode of mutual integration and innovation of handicrafts and modernity.
The current situation and problems of China’s glass art industry
The industrial revolution had a large or small impact on various production fields such as handicraft and manufacturing. People’s way of life also changed a lot at that time, and for a time people’s aesthetic orientation hovered between mechanical manufacturing and hand-made manufacturing.
Before the Industrial Revolution, there was no way to leave manual labor in the manufacture of glass, but the Industrial Revolution brought disruptive changes to the glass manufacturing industry. The changes it brought are mainly the following two points, first, because the machine production is more diverse in function and style, to achieve a lot of hand can not reach the product function. So glass production has skyrocketed and is used in a variety of industries, until today it has spread to all areas of our daily lives. This has also led to people getting used to this fast production method, and naturally the aesthetic requirements in this area have begun to decrease, and people pay more attention to the practical functions of things. Therefore, many handicrafts gradually lose balance on the scale of practicality and aesthetics. The second point is that although machine production has broken through the shortcomings and limitations brought about by manual production, the products manufactured have largely ignored the artistry of the products and the emotional sustainment between the makers.
The development of glass art in recent years
In the international arena there are many well-known glass artists and large handcrafted glass art studios will still use thermal processing methods to produce glass artwork, which requires a very high level of operator skills and thermal processing equipment, and the requirements for some practitioners’ cultural knowledge and artistic skills are also very strict, producing purely artistic glass products. There are also some developed countries that have glass art studios set up in the arts and crafts departments of colleges and universities to teach students the production methods of some glass crafts.
For example, the United Kingdom, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, but also the first country to show their support for the Arts and Crafts movement, the United Kingdom has done an excellent job in fostering the development of handicraft arts. In contrast, in our country, because glass art just entered the market when it was lucrative and the threshold was low, the number of practitioners increased dramatically, but the technical content of the products is not high, and there are many problems to be solved if we want to achieve better development.
The glass art in the modern craft of emotional transmission
Until now, glass material is still producing new varieties and making continuous innovation with the development of technology. After the Arts and Crafts movement, people pay more attention to the concept of modernist art transmission, and people gradually reduce the requirements for the practicality of crafts, and glass crafts can be seen in some craft exhibitions from time to time. Because glass has unique material characteristics and material beauty, it is more likely to produce infinite possibilities in the hands of artists, and can also largely enrich the expression of people’s emotions.
Modern handicraft is a form of handicraft art after the traditional handicraft art is enriched and innovated. It can be called modern handicraft because on the one hand it breaks through the traditional art forms and states, and on the other hand it is combined with modern technology. The past and the present are relative in terms of time, and modern craftsmanship will become traditional in the future. So whether it is modern or traditional handicrafts, if we want a good art work to be preserved, we must focus on the artistic aspect rather than the technical aspect, because the technology will be constantly innovated and replaced, only the art that will convey emotion will be eternally survived.
This is not only true for the development of glass handicrafts. Because society develops first and foremost in terms of functionality, some of the old methods of production will inevitably be replaced by new, more user-friendly methods of production. Nevertheless, the artistic value of the craft creation technique is an indispensable part of the human ideology, which is a re-examination of the traditional hand-made glass crafts. Thanks to the convenience and speed of modern machinery, we have not only made the glass industry grow rapidly, but we are also grateful for the renewed appreciation of the value of handcrafted works. In this sense, we should focus more on developing and maintaining the present crafts, so that our traditional handmade glassworks can continue to be innovative.
What can be seen is that the artwork of glass in contemporary crafts is quietly blossoming. With the uniqueness and superiority of its own material, the craft of glass can be continuously innovated with the development of technology, and people’s expression of art will be better expressed from glass art. Compared with ordinary artworks for artistic expression of physical objects, glass works can better shape the sense of space and visual effects. This artistic effect can make people’s own imagination play better, and it is at this time that the power generated by art is immeasurable.