Who We Are
The International Glass Alliance was founded by Amy Brabender and Peter Rath with the assistance of Jiří Harcuba.
Amy Brabender, Executive Director, co-founder of International Glass Alliance and design historian.
Peter Rath, Treasurer and co-founder of International Glass Alliance. Fifth generation co-owner of J. & L. Lobmeyr, as well as Vice President of the organization, Light and Glass: The European Society and Documentation Centre for Chandeliers, Light and Lighting. Learn more at Light and Glass.
Jiří Harcuba, International Glass Alliance Honorary Advisor. Master glass engraver and educator. Learn more at the Corning Museum of Glass.
Js Brielmaier, advising creative director and research consultant for IGA.
LocationsThe IGA is based in Madison, Wisconsin, with its European office in the historic city of Kamenický Šenov, located in the center of the Czech glassmaking region in northern Bohemia. In addition to its position as a world leader of glass chandelier production since the early 18th century, Kamenický Šenov also houses the oldest glassmaking school in the world, the Secondary School of Glassmaking in Kamenický Šenov, opened in 1859.
The International Glass Alliance is an organization founded in 2010 to preserve the rich traditions of glassmaking and glass education in the Czech Republic, promote the region's standing as an economic, artistic and cultural center in the Czech Republic and throughout the world and serve as a platform for international exchange among glass artists, scholars, students, collectors and enthusiasts.
Since its founding in 2010, the IGA has worked to develop educational programs and professional development initiatives in support of this rich artistic heritage. The IGA is consulting with school faculty, artists, scholars and Czech government officials to create glassmaking educational programs, scholarships to study glassmaking, professional development and both economic and community-based opportunities for Czech students, artists and faculty to participate in sustaining the glassmaking region in northern Bohemia. The economic and community-based initiatives also seek to bridge the glass communities in Madison and the Midwest with those in the Czech Republic. As more information about these programs becomes available, it will be shared on this website. Financial support for the development of these programs is vital. Please click the Support Us page to find out how you can support this endeavor today. If you are interested in potential participation in any of these initiatives, please contact the IGA Executive Director at: email@example.com
Why Preserving Glassmaking Traditions Is Imperative
Czech glass is renowned throughout the world for its exceptional quality, craftsmanship and artistry. Equally important is the countryʼs history of glassmaking traditions dating from the Middle Ages. As one of the last intact functioning glass regions in the world, northern Bohemia, with its complex network of schools, studios, galleries, museums and factories, is an irreplaceable artistic and cultural asset not only to the Czech Republic, but also to the international glass community. The region houses numerous glassmaking schools, including three of historic and artistic significance: the oldest glassmaking school in the world, the Secondary School of Glassmaking in Kamenický Šenov (1859); the Higher, Secondary and Apprentice Glass School in Nový Bor (1870); and the High School for Applied Arts in Glassmaking in Železný Brod (1920). The region is also home to factories creating hand-production pieces as well as independent glass studios, artists, glass museums and dealers. The regionʼs contribution to the advancement of glass arts has influenced world trends in glass for centuries.
Right now, the glassmaking region of northern Bohemia, its schools and glassmaking network, are threatened by the global economy. The schools' extinction and the disappearance of glassmaking in this region would be a devastating loss not only to the glass community in the Czech Republic, but also to the world's artistic and cultural heritage.
History offers us clues of effective ways to preserve these glassmaking traditions.
In the early 19th century, the Napoleonic Wars and continental blockade had a dire effect on the Bohemian glass industry and trade. In response to this situation, the local authorities decided to heavily invest in vocational training and established what is now the oldest glassmaking school in the world, the Secondary School of Glassmaking in Kamenický Šenov, which has influenced world trends in glass for over one hundred and fifty years.
The economic downturn in the early 20th century propelled the regional schools’ directors to deepen collaboration with local glass companies and further invest in technology, new courses, and new departments. One of these innovative programs, the cutting department in the Secondary School of Glassmaking in Kamenický Šenov, celebrated its 100th year anniversary in June 2010.
After the devastation of World War II, Czech glass artists brought to the region and schools new and innovative ways of working with and thinking about glass. Their vision greatly influenced the entire direction of glass in the 20th century and contributed to the birth of the Studio Glass Movement.
The glassmaking region in northern Bohemia once again faces a similar threat. We, in the international glass community, have the opportunity right now to rise to this challenge, follow history’s examples and participate in developing creative, innovative solutions to address this problem!
The IGA’s programs and initiatives are part of the solution for the region. With your help we can help preserve glassmaking traditions and education for future generations!
Glassmaking is part of all of our global cultural heritage. Visit the IGA Support Page for information about how you can help today!