ART OF GLASS
Eva Moosbrugger creates beautiful sculptures using ancient Venetian glass-blowing techniques combined with a unique textured finish
“I had an artistic crisis,” recalls Eva Moosbrugger, thinking back to how she became a sculptor of glass. Until 1996, Eva worked with stone, yet found herself stuck between a rock and a hard place, so to speak. This rough, harsh material lacked the fun and personality that she wanted to embed in her work. Thankfully, inspiration came in an unlikely guise – a glass figurine of a clown, which she came across on the German island of Lindau.
“This ornament was horrible, but it was happy,” she says. “The colour, the three-dimensional nature of it, the wonderful way it played with sunlight – the glass fulfilled everything.” Since then, Eva has created what she describes as “biomorphic forms with unbelievable colours”, ranging from functional vases and cups to abstract creations that tower above human height. These vibrant, playful glass sculptures weave together luminous colours that shimmer like candied rock, existing somewhere between art, craft and design.
Her work is created on the Venetian island of Murano. “It’s my second homeland,” says Eva. Murano’s role in glassblowing dates back to the 10th century, with its artisans gaining global status during the Renaissance period as the glassblowers of choice for deep-pocketed royals and aristocracy. Their techniques, passed down from father to son, remain a closely guarded secret.
Eva’s sculptures go through several stages. First, the glass is heated to around 1,400 degrees Celsius. The shape is then blown by the glassblowing master, and nobody else. “If he’s sick, the work stops,” says Eva. Next, Eva spends hours sanding, grinding and carefully chiselling the glass into shape. “Not even my team in Murano understands this process, but they trust me,” she laughs. Taking a hammer and chisel to glass this delicate would make most people sweat nervously, but Eva has been refining her technique for 25 years and her method creates an almost velvet-like texture to the touch.
Eva’s prizes over the years have included a Lorenzo il Magnifico Award, a Baden-Württemberg International Design Award and a German Design Award, and her work is shown globally. In 2019 alone, Eva exhibited at The Venice Glass Week, Kanazawa’s International Exhibition of Glass in Japan and the Glass Museum in Coesfeld, Germany. “Once, I thought my artistic concepts were so crazy that nobody would understand them,” she says. “I never dreamt that the results could be so fantastic.”