François Azambourg – Glass Blowing with Nature
On November 19th, Spazio Nobile Gallery opened an exhibition of new glassworks by François Azambourg made while in residence at CIAV Miesenthal in the spring of 2021. Lise Coirier writes about her encounter with the artist and visiting his studio.
All Photos by Margaux Nieto
In the heart of the Northern Vosges and under the breath of talented glass masters, the sculptural containers Douglas and Brindilles by French designer François Azambourg were born. He designed them spontaneously, in the moment and in the dance of the workshop, like a magician suspended on the ladder of his dreaming mind, an inventor at heart. Pines, firs, spruces, larches, cedars… the Pinaceae family is universal. It is also very present in this region where the glass factory of the Centre international d’Art verrier (CIAV) continues to sublimate its branches with the creation of Christmas ornaments, born from the master blowing and silvering techniques of the Goetzenbruck factory.
In the magical world of the CIAV glass workshop, anchored in an ancestral territory marked by an industrial era dating back to the beginning of the 18th century, Azambourg brings back to life the sylvan beauty of slender pines and light twigs. Celebrating the grandeur of a landscape blossoming between the Rhine and Moselle, on the borders of Alsace and Lorraine, the designer becomes the artist and conductor of a hypnotic choreography. The gaze is lost in the incredible dance of glass blowing: the ball of fire hugs, crackles and consumes the evergreen foliage of this coniferous tree, whose branches are prepared with great care by the artist, who collected them a few hours earlier in the Lemberg or Saint-Louis forest.
During our first visit and workshop in Meisenthal in the spring of 2021, in the company of the master artist, the daily walks and encounters were as refreshing as our close observations of nature. When selecting and gathering the very linear leaves of the Douglas fir, one had to imagine the burning inferno of the foliage in the flames; it gave off a pleasant odour, a little like citronella. The thorny coniferous tree is ennobled in the heat of the oven. Moulded or cast in an artistic gesture, the Douglas fir becomes once again the textured bark of a trunk reaching for the sky, a fragile presence, coloured or silvered, sometimes deformed, or premature. The elegant twigs of a branch are encapsulated in the material or leave their light and indelible trace on the transparent surface of the Brindille vase. Containers and contents merge in the clarity of the undergrowth, the trace of nature becomes the receptacle of our own culture, the form emerges as the symbolic value of a subject – the pine, the resin tree, the sap tree, the essence of the Vosges, the conifer with resistant foliage, the needle tree – which becomes the object of all our desires.
-Written between March – October, 2021