Borek Spek, a renowned Czech designer, and Petr Novotny, a talented young glassblower, formed this glass company in 1989 after collaborating artistically for several years, assembling a specialist team of technicians and artists to explore the possibilities of innovation in the area.
Ajeto company specialises in handmade, limited edition pieces that stretch the medium’s technological possibilities, with Spek as creative director and Novotny and Fafala as co-directors.
Driade in Italy, Maletti in Italy, lighting for Prague Castle, the Steltman Galleries in the Netherlands and the United States, and the Karl Lagerfeld shop in Paris are among its clients.
Batch Mixing: The Foundation of Glass
Ingredients and Proportions
The first step in the glassmaking process is batch mixing. The core ingredients—glass sand, soda, potash, and limestone—form the basis of the glass. The proportions and purity of these ingredients determine the quality of the end product.
The Color of Secrets
What distinguishes one glasswork from another often lies in its colour. Additives responsible for this characteristic are weighed meticulously by a technologist. The exact recipe for specific colours is considered a guarded secret, often passed down through generations of glassmakers. This arcane knowledge lends an air of mystery to the art.
Moulding: The Art of Form
Mould-making is crucial for shaping the glass. Beechwood is a popular material, especially when creating complex shapes. Alternative materials include plaster, cast iron, aluminium, and graphite. Some moulds, referred to as “expendable moulds,” are even made from wax or paper and are destroyed during the process.
Mould Longevity and Maintenance
The lifespan of a mould depends on its complexity and the material from which it is made. A single mould can last for 50–70 blowings, requiring frequent wetting to maintain its quality and effectiveness.
Smelting: The Fiery Heart of Glassmaking
The smelter, made of fireclay bricks, operates at temperatures up to 1,500°C. Different production phases require different temperatures, making mastery of the smelter essential for producing quality glassworks.
The Team and Schedule
Glassmakers work under the supervision of a gaffer and start their day early, operating six glass-melting pots for different colours and effects. Post-smelting, each glass product must cool in special furnaces for varying lengths, depending on its thickness and complexity.
Cutting: The Final Touch
Tools and Techniques
The cutting shop is where the cooled glass undergoes its final transformation. Various diamond disks and grinding abrasives are used to cut and refine the glass, while water serves to cool the surface and remove debris.
The Final Shape
The cutting process is the last step in defining the glass product’s ultimate form. It’s here that the fine details are added, contributing to the object’s aesthetic and functional properties.
Mobile Glass Smelter: Glassmaking On-the-Go
Ajeto Glassworks also offers a unique feature—a mobile glass smelter. Designed for educational and interactive experiences, it is frequently used at corporate events and markets. This portable setup allows people to engage directly with the ancient craft of glassmaking.
Woodham, J. M. (2006). A dictionary of modern design. Oxford University Press.
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