This is an outing that's been on my 'must try' list for ages - so at last, a friend and I went to one of the local 'open studio' events, choosing a glass workshop near the Hluboka castle a few kilometres from Ceske Budejovice.
The studio makes all kinds of glass objects, from intricate beads to vases and glasses, to wonderful sculptures. But today we were treated to a brilliant 'performance' by an extraordinarily skilled glass blower. There in front of our eyes came to life birds, shells, and other fabulous creations, seemingly by a flick of a hand, a small touch of a tool, a little puff of breath. I've seen the work of glass artists on film before but nothing compares to the real thing, complete with the heat from the furnace and the scent of the fire.
Czech republic is renowned for its glass, a tradition going back centuries - but most of the well known glass comes from North Bohemia. Not so well known is the fact that Sumava, in the South, also has a rich tradition in glass-making. Here they made what is known as 'forest glass' for example: green-tinged, bubbly stuff, intricately decorated, mostly made during the renaissance and baroque periods (bot perhaps more on the history at some other time).
At lunchtime the owners prepared a veritable feast - you can see on the photo a rusty kind of object which is in fact an outdoor spit-oven: in it was a whole lamb, and there were masses of side dishes and sweet delicacies to go with it. And beer on tap, of course :-)
And then the visitors were able to have a go too. What a treat! Of course this was a special day, but I found out that one can book a whole day for a small group where you can have a go at making glass objects by various methods, and come back the next day to collect the results of your effort - so I am sure I'll be back again: this is a kind of activity that could get addictive....