Figure 1. Robert Pierini. Flacon fleur, 1994


Dirk Schrijvers

From the 1990’s to 2014
The tradition of making utility and decorative objects is kept alive by a new generation of artists, who were trained at glass studios, many of which still are located in Biot. They produce high quality utility glass, vases and flacons in their own glass studios, which are showing the artist’s translation of the theme with differences in inlays, additions and decorative techniques. 

Posted 15 September 2014

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Robert Pierini (°1950) worked from 1968 with glass under the direction of Eloi Monod at the “Verrerie de Biot ». In 1980, he started his own glass studio in an old mill, “La Verrerie du Moulin”, in Biot, where he continued his research of perfecting the technique of glass blowing. He studied the “Golden Section” to obtain a perfect proportion and harmony of his forms. Also, he experimented with colors, like blue, violet, yellow, and particularly different shades of red and transparencies to obtain a perfect object. He also applied metallic bubbles to interfere with the homogeneity of the glass (Figure 1). 

Figure 2. Antoine Pierini. Dunes

Antoine Pierini (°1980), fascinated by the work of his father, acquired his glass blowing skills at his father’s studio. He perfected his technique with the help of other glass artists and during a trip in the United States, he became inspired by the work of Dale Chihuly and William Morris. His youth and enthusiasm enabled him to find his own signature with a vibrant glass and sober use of colors and his own patterns, based on nature and the changing landscape. In 2003, he followed a workshop at Sars Poteries with David Reekie and Udo Zembock. The techniques of casting and fusing, which he learns during the workshop, enlarges his field of techniques. This led to the creation of non-functional 3-dimensional work with an abstract imaging and installations (Figure 2; Figure 3).

Figure 3. Antoine Pierini. 

Olivier Mallemouche (°1964) learned the technique of glass blowing in his uncle’s studio in Limeuil. He has his own studio in Bretenoux, located in the Midi-Pyrénées in the South of France. He uses different techniques, forms, materials and colors to decorate his vases and perfume bottles (Figure 4, Figure 5). In addition to his utility work, he also makes sculptural work based on an anthropomorphic ethnic theme (Figure 6). 

Figure 4. Olivier Mallemouche. Cocon

Figure 5. Olivier Mallemouche. Picto

Figure 6. Olivier Mallemouche.Tantine

Frédéric Guillot and Cécile Vadel have a glass studio in Issigeac. Frédéric Guillot studied in the clothing industry, but returned to the family study to work with glass. After obtaining a degree in glass (Certificat d'aptitude professionnelle (CAP) verrier), he founded his own company in 2001 together with Cécile Vadel . She studied graphic design and worked during 5 year in the printing business in Toulouse. She became interested in glass and learned glass blowing in Fongecif and Monpazier. She also obtained the “CAP verrier » and started with Guillot the glass studio in 2001.
They produce utility glass and decorative objects. Their source of inspiration is nature, the world of children, history and daily life (Figure 7). Cécile Vadel also creates pearls, inspired by Roman and Merovingian designs. 

Figure 7. Frédéric Guillot & Cécile Vadel. Roman flasks

Figure 8. Didier Saba. Apples 

Didier Saba (°1970) has his own glass studio in Biot. His father and grandfather worked at the “Verrerie de Biot » and this made that already from his early youth he was exposed to glass blowing. After his studies in Journalism, he worked for the radio-station “Europe 2” during 5 years. Finishing his military services , he started to work in the glass trade, first with his father and later with a glass blower at Vallauris. In 1999, he joined his father and started to produce his own models in glass. In 2002, he founded his own glass gallery “la Verrerie Didier SABA” and “la Galerie du Château” in Biot. He finds his inspiration in the work of artists like Picasso and Dali, which enables him to express his own ideas (Figure 8). 

Nicolas Laty (°1976) came to the world of glass after a meeting with Jean-Claude Novaro. The theme of his work is based on his childhood and the imaginary fantastic world of a child’s mind. The use of primary colors gives the pieces their freshness and spontaneity. He gets his inspiration from comics, animated films but also from the behaviors of animals and humans (Figure 9). 

Figure 9. Nicolas Laty. 1000 pattes oranges

The glass scene of France is blooming and a selection of the artist were discussed in this article. Next to those graduating from the CERFAV and craftsmen formed in the glass studios, artists of other disciplines are discovering the material glass to make their work. The interaction among all these participants makes contemporary French studio glass an interesting item for experts and broad public.

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