For those who observe the Glass and Crystal Route by means of the thick forests of the Vosges du Nord, you will attain a glass mecca. Lower than 10 km from Wingen, the glass-making website of Meisenthal has turn out to be a preferred vacation spot through the years. The previous glassworks, which closed in 1969, has been resurrected to kind three centres: the Maison du verre et du cristal, the Centre Worldwide d’Artwork Verrier and the Halle Verrière. And there is a shock for individuals who love adorning the tree: the well-known glass Christmas baubles!
The Meisenthal glassworks, cradle of Artwork Nouveau glass
Meisenthal (the valley of the tits) is a major centre for glassmaking. It’s mentioned that glassmakers from the neighbouring village of Soucht settled right here after a scarcity of wooden compelled them to shut down their enterprise.
In 1702, Duke Leopold 1 of Lorraine authorised them to arrange one other glassworks on the village’s present-day website. The primary furnaces had been lit in 1711. Housing quickly sprang up across the new manufacturing unit. This explains the glassworks’ location proper within the village’s centre.
All through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the advanced continued to increase.
From 1867 to 1894, Emile Gallé from Nancy labored with the glassworks, endeavor technical analysis into glass. Meisenthal grew to become generally known as the “cradle of Artwork Nouveau glass“.
An incredible success
Round 1920, a big glass corridor was constructed and the corporate employed round 650 individuals. Tens of thousands and thousands of items of glass had been produced, significantly cheap on a regular basis glassware (tableware, consuming glasses, carafes, tumblers, and so on.).
Closure and reconversion
However competitors from Belgian and German mechanised glassworks obtained the higher of Meisenthal. The glassworks closed its doorways for good on 31 December 1969, when the furnaces had been lastly shut down. The manufacturing unit, masking an space of 1 hectare, rapidly grew to become a wasteland.
From the Nineteen Eighties onwards, the buildings had been redeveloped to deal with three actions linked to the positioning’s glassmaking previous: the Maison du verre et du cristal, the Centre worldwide d’artwork verrier (CIAV) and the Halle Verrière.
The buildings of the Meisenthal glassworks
The Meisenthal glassworks website consists of various buildings that also bear witness to its wealthy industrial previous.
Maison du verre et du cristal
This museum traces all of the phases within the manufacture of glass and crystal. You possibly can see various creations by the Saint-Louis and Lalique glassworks, and by Emile Gallé.
The Worldwide Centre for Glass Artwork (CIAV)
The CIAV was created in 1998 and occupies the Glassworks’ former chopping workshop. In response to the centre’s web site:
“The CIAV is dedicated to preserving and selling the technical heritage of its area by means of quite a lot of initiatives: expertise switch periods with former glassmakers, the acquisition of previous instruments, the creation of a mould library – a set of 1,500 previous moulds -, historic analysis with the Musée du Verre, and so forth. Along with its conservatory position, this work has enabled us to construct up a big assortment of technical sources that can be utilized by designers who work in Meisenthal.”
The CIAV in Meisenthal is a novel place of manufacturing, demonstration, transmission of data, creation and discovery. That is the place the well-known glass Christmas baubles are made, utilizing conventional strategies employed by the previous glassmakers of Gœtzenbruck.
The tour takes you as much as a specifically geared up mezzanine the place you possibly can watch the glassblowers at work.
Situated on the coronary heart of the manufacturing unit, the Nice Corridor was restored in 2005 and might now accommodate 3,000 individuals beneath its glass roof. Cultural occasions (exhibitions, live shows, and so on.) are organised right here.
The unbelievable story of the Meisenthal Christmas bauble
The previous glassworks within the neighbouring village of Gœtzenbruck was based in 1721 by Jean-Georges Poncet, a glassmaker within the close by village of Meisenthal. It produced glassware.
In 1858, a extreme drought hit the area. Unhealthy luck for the inhabitants, who had obtained into the behavior of adorning their Christmas bushes with fruit.
“In 1858, nature was stingy. The nice drought disadvantaged the Vosges du Nord of fruit, so the Christmas tree had no decoration to talk of. A glassblower from Gœtzenbruck tried to make up for this injustice by blowing a number of glass baubles. He single-handedly triggered a convention that has spanned cultures.”
This was the start of the trendy Christmas bauble as we all know it right this moment (even when it’s all too usually fabricated from plastic!). It was an important success: the glassworks at Gœtzenbruck produced as much as 250,000 ornamental reflective baubles yearly.
In 1964, the glassworks in Gœtzenbruck closed for good. The commercial manufacturing of silver Christmas baubles out of the blue ceased they usually fell into oblivion. Till the Centre Worldwide d’Artwork Verrier de Meisenthal revived the custom on the finish of the Nineties!
Since 1998, the CIAV has produced round twenty fashions of glass baubles in two collections:
- the conventional line, straight impressed by previous fashions, and
- the up to date line, created by up to date designers and artists.
The glass baubles are actually produced beneath the registered trademark “Meisenthal- France”.
The Meisenthal baubles editions
Yearly, the disclosing of the brand new version of the Meisenthal Christmas bauble is a second eagerly awaited by the general public and collectors alike. Listed here are just some examples:
POMME DE PIN – Ligne traditionnelle 1999
DIVA – Ligne contemporaine 2003 – design : Michel Paysant
ARTI – Ligne contemporaine 2018 – design : Nathalie Nierengarten
Stella, the 2023 Meisenthal Christmas bauble
The 2023 version of Meisenthal’s Christmas bauble, christened “STELLA“, is inflicting a sensation with its phenomenal success. This thirty fourth Christmas bauble from the Meisenthal glass artwork centre was created by French designer Jean-Simon Roch. Its form evokes “the ballet of the glassmakers”.
Unsurprisingly, the dancer’s barely extra classical silhouette appealed to a broad viewers, drawing within the crowds as quickly as gross sales opened. The centre’s director, Yann Grienenberger, says the response has been distinctive, with a report 4,000 copies bought on-line in simply 48 hours.
In entrance of the gross sales chalet at Strasbourg’s Christmas market, the environment buzzed from the primary hours as prospects, bundled up for the chilly, rushed to get their treasured Stella baubles, restricted to 2 per particular person.
The environment is full of life, however the safety guard retains a detailed eye on issues, handing out tickets identical to on the butcher’s. Regardless of the hustle and bustle, the procuring expertise stays joyful, with teams forming and full of life discussions going down.
Artisanal manufacturing, already at 40,000 balls since July, will attain 75,000 by Christmas, however a brand new batch is scheduled for February for latecomers.
The magic of Stella appears to have conquered hearts, making this 12 months’s version an actual festive success.
The place can you purchase Meisenthal Christmas baubles?
Meisenthal Christmas baubles are on sale on the Meisenthal glassworks store in Place Robert-Schuman.
However if you cannot make it to the Pays de Bitche, don’t be concerned, different websites supply the well-known glass baubles on the market whereas shares final (verify right here) :
- The Vacationer Workplace of Nancy located on Place Stanislas.
- Agence Encourage Metz – workplace de tourisme on Place d’Armes in Metz.
- The Metz Christmas Market (on the chalet adjoining to the Qualité-MOSL chalet in Metz on Place de la République).
- The Vacationer Workplace of Sarreguemines.
- The Vacationer Workplace of Forbach located in Avenue Saint-Rémy.
- The Strasbourg Christmas Market on Place Benjamin-Zix and at La Petite France.
- The Sainte Barbe advanced in Sélestat.
- The Vacationer Workplace of Colmar on Place Unterlinden.
- At Showroom 10 sur Dix in Paris.
Different websites close to the Meisenthal glassmaking website
On the heights of the village, within the route of Wingen-sur-Moder, are two monuments erected on the previous border between the Duchy of Lorraine and the County of Hanau-Lichtenberg (Alsace):
- The Stone of the Twelve Apostles. This monolith, the origin of which is unknown, is a 4.40 m excessive block of pink sandstone. Also called the “Breitenstein”, it has been topped by a calvary for the reason that 18th century.
- The Wingen Column. Constructed in the course of the Napoleonic period, this can be a former boundary marker. The bottom of the previous pillar is believed to be of Gallo-Roman origin. A bit additional on, on the left, there’s a very good view of Meisenthal.
There are lots of websites inside a thirty-minute drive of the Meisenthal glassworks. Listed here are a number of concepts for outings:
- The historic village of La Petite-Pierre and the bucolic area of Alsace Bossue
- The ruined castles of Lichtenberg, Wasenbourg, Falkenstein and Grand Wintersberg
- The Lalique Museum in Wingen-sur-Moder
- The crystal glassworks at Saint-Louis-lès-Bitche
- The small city of Bitche and the Vauban citadel
- The Maginot Line works: Fort Casso and Simsherhof
- The picturesque lake of the Etang de Hanau
Be taught extra concerning the Meisenthal glassworks
Some web sites:
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