Moser master glass blower finds no followers for his unique artwork

Zdeněk Drobný

Artists have handed down the secrets of their work to younger generations for centuries. Sadly, this is not always the case and the unique artwork leaves the scene with its maker. Glass master Zdeněk Drobný, who single-handedly created unique pear-shaped vases in the Moser glass works for 10 years, is about to retire and he has no one to hand down his skills to.    

It measures 30 centimeters, weighs eight kilograms and consists of several layers of multicolored glass. The famous Hruška vase from the Moser glassworks in Karlovy Vary, was born ten years ago. Since then it has travelled to countries the world over. Its production will end this year. Only glass master Zdeněk Drobný can process tens of kilos of hot glass to create the hand-made product. When he retires in June, he will sadly take the artistic skills with him.

Zdeněk Drobný with Hruška vase | Photo: Moser

The master glass blower has been working at the Moser glassworks in Karlovy Vary for 51 years. He is part of the company’s history and easily recalls how the Hruška vase –one of the company’s best selling items was born.

“We worked closely with the former art director Lukáš Jabůrek on various products. He came to me with a pear-shaped vase sketched on a piece of paper. It was specific, nothing like it had ever been done at Moser without a mold, because it meant handling a lot of glass on your blowpipe. We started at eight kilos; I tried to take on more and more, until I had about 15 kilos of glass. But when I took it out of the oven, the blowpipe bent. In the end I could handle 30 kilos.”

Hruška vases | Photo: Moser

In order to be able to produce the vase, the company had to buy a new set of tools –blowpipes that could take the weight. Zdeněk Drobný –whose second name paradoxically means “small” – was the only glass blower able to meet the challenge. He says that even so, he could only produce eight such vases a day. To do more would have damaged his joints. Before grinding, the crystal glass vase weighs 15 kilograms, roughly half of which is then removed by the grinders. The finished product weighs eight kilos.

Zdeněk Drobný says that, now that he is planning to retire, there is no one willing to take on the heavy workload.

Zdeněk Drobný | Photo: Moser

"It's such a specific product that now there is no glassmaker who can handle such physically demanding work. I've been very active  all my  life. When I started making this vase I was in top form, I cycled, played football, went to the gym, did yoga. Its unique, a wonderful piece, but all things come to an end one day."

The Hruška crystal glass vase has been produced by Zdeněk Drobný in the Moser glassworks for almost 10 years. It comes in a variety of colours and collectors are now scrambling to pick up the last pieces on the market.

Authors: Daniela Lazarová , Ivana Sedláčková
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