Knowledge, craft and skills of handmade glass production


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Inscribed in 2023 (18.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© Eric Lefeuvre, 2022

Traditional handmade glass production entails shaping and decorating hot and cold glass to produce hollow glass objects, flat glass and crown glass. It is characterised by the high degree of craftsmanship inherent to the work and by strong team values due to the need to respect the previous steps performed by other glassmakers. Most practitioners work in small or medium-sized glassworks or studios. Each glassworks develops techniques unique to its catalogue and references. Similarly, each practitioner develops his or her own style, even when creating identical pieces. Production in traditional glassworks is based on the division of tasks, with glassmakers traditionally working in teams according to their respective specialisation. Individual work is also common, particularly in cold-glass techniques and jewellery creation. The knowledge and skills related to handmade glass production are transmitted within families or through apprenticeships in glassworks. The practice is also transmitted through formal training, such as in vocational schools, high schools, colleges and universities. The characteristics of handmade glass production generate a strong sense of belonging, respect and solidarity among practitioners. The centuries-old practice has also shaped specific terminologies, festive cultures and religious functions that still retain important cultural and social meanings to this day.