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A guide to art glass vases

The history of art glass dates back to the time when mankind learned how to blow through a tube into a gather of glass, thus forming it into shapes. This happened near the end of the 1st century BC. Lead was added to glass, hence adding sparkle to it in 1676. It marked a new era in art glass. This article provides a guide to art glass vases.

Early European art glass

Glass-making thrived in the Middle East. The glass from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance began with the glass made in Venice. Thus, Venice became a major centre for glass-making in the 15th century. This glass was often decorated with either enamel or gilding. The decoration that was applied to the glass was metallic oxide coloured powdered glass in an oily medium. When the glass was fired, the oil medium burned away, leaving the colour behind. More elaborate designs would take several firings. In the 16th century, soon after the discovery about lead glass had taken place, cut and blown glass vases appeared. This glass was often engraved as well.

Late European art glass vases, Asian glass, American glass

Glass from the 17th century Asian art glass featured intricate designs and techniques, such as numerous layers of glass that had been blown, wheel cut, cased, incised and carved in order to reveal the different layers of glass in a design. Glass in America was influenced by the Venetian glass. This was reflected in art glass vases of the 18th century.

Modern glass

Modern art glass vases began with the turn of the century. Art Nouveau inspired art glasses that were influenced by the natural world. Tiffany vases Louis Comfort Tiffany created art glass vases as well, though perhaps he is more associated with the stained glass panels, lamp shades and more. His vases were often iridescent, and reflected the smooth curves and colours of the natural world. Hoffman vases Joseff Hoffman, a Venetian architect founded the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshop) in 1903. He encouraged and made art glass vases and other decorative items that featured lead glass and "simple, full forms and spare, usually geometric decoration." Post 1960, the art glass vases took on shapes that resembled that natural world - sometimes literally - and everything imaginable.

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