A Visit to the Borowski Art in Glass Workshop

My husband Steve and I recently toured the Borowski Art in Glass Workshop in Boleslawieck, Poland. It is very different from any other glass blowing we’ve ever seen in that the glass creations are very contemporary with a fun, whimsical twist. All the sculptures tell stories about particular situations that often translate into comical compositions and characters. The workshop is located in a remodeled, century-old building.

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This is a family run shop owned and operated by Mr. Stanislaw Borowski and his sons, Pawet, Wiktor and Stani Jan. We had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Borowski and Pawet during our tour.

Borowski glass gained international recognition in the 1970s with Stanislaw’s engravings and sculptures. There is a photo in the shop featuring the presentation of a Borowski glass sculpture to President Jimmy Carter.

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Mr. Borowski opened his first small shop in 1990, and it now ranks as one of the most acclaimed art glass studios in the world, with appearances in many international exhibits.

During our weekend visit to Poland, we noticed that the soil is very sandy. The Borowskis use a secret formula for their glass making, but I’m sure the native sandy soil of Poland is probably the foundational element.

In an online interview, Mr. Borowski described his difficult, early years of working with glass. His studio was inadequate, cold and icy. He didn’t have proper tools, and had to seek permission to use a diamond saw.

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His creations are rooted in childhood fantasies. His early pieces were small, and he described them as tiny children he had to raise himself, and then give them up.

“There are some of my pieces on display in galleries around the world that I would love to be able to buy back, or steal…but I had to sell them to make a living.”

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“Every step of the way was about gathering knowledge and climbing a ladder.”

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“My work gives me inner satisfaction. It makes me feel complete, like I have accomplished something”

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“It’s up to the public to decide what’s good and what’s bad. ‘Yes, I like that very much,’ or ‘No. I wouldn’t want that in my home.’”

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“All artists need to listen carefully.”

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“I’m not a painter. So I have to remember what I see.”

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“What about the people? They’re still in pieces. What’s the plan? It’s a piece of architecture”

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“When someone asks me what’s the most important medium for my creative work, I always answer “Light!”  – Stani Jan Borowski

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Steve and I were given a special demonstration of some glass blowing. This particular session was the design of a small, whimsical whale. We ended up purchasing one of these whales as a souvenir.

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There is a shop where you can purchase some of these amazing creations, from the smallest pieces to rather large indoor and outdoor sculptures, and there is a garden area that features wooden, clay, metal and glass exhibits of some outdoor sculptures.

All in all, this was an amazing tour, the highlight of which was getting to meet Mr. Borowski and his son Pawet.

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