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We’ve got balls!’ – Christmas at the Nationaal Glasmuseum is the name of an exhibition that students from Design Academy Eindhoven have worked on during the past trimester. With designer Eibert Draisma as their tutor, forty first-year students have designed a series of glass Christmas baubles and fitted them with computer-controlled lighting. The exhibition at the Nationaal Glasmuseum in Leerdam opened on 18 November 2017 and closes on 25 February 2018.

One of the things that characterise Eibert Draisma’s classes is that he likes to offer a hands-on experience, letting his students explore and experiment. He also likes to end his design assignments with a final presentation that is open to the public, organising events like a concert or a catwalk-show. The constant awareness of the public nature of their final presentation helps students retain a critical view on their projects –both their own and each other’s. Final presentations are also an opportunity for students to shine, which means it makes sense to invite friends and family.


The Nationaal Glasmuseum
When presented with the opportunity to do a project with the Nationaal Glasmuseum, Draisma  instantly thought of his first year students. “Glassblowing is a wonderful craft that creates high-quality and sustainable products in small numbers. Or even unique pieces. My personal aversion to mass-production is growing,” he says. “I thought designing a Christmas bauble would work as an assignment for this trimester. Students can find lots of knowhow on the glassblower’s craft on YouTube, and since the actual blowing would be done by the craftsmen at the museum’s glass workshop, the students would have plenty of time to focus on the technological aspects of lighting their baubles.” The results, more than forty baubles measuring thirty centimetre across, are now on display in the museum garden, in a blacked-out glasshouse.


A win-win situation
The collaboration offered a clear win-win situation in more than one way. The Nationaal Glasmuseum has had a desire to work with (design) schools to carve out a stronger profile for glass and its versatility with a young audience. The museum was eager for DAE’s first-years to present their ideas. For the  students, the collaboration offers a unique learning experience, with the final models being partly produced by a business partner. And finally, the Christmas exhibition shows the public at large how  DAE-students combine age-old techniques and craftsmanship with the latest in technology.

The collaboration has resulted in a collection of Christmas baubles that show craftsmanship, technology and light reinforcing each other in a wide range of ways. “The results are certainly unique,” says Draisma. “Especially when you realise that this was the first time these students were introduced to glassblowing, and the first time they got to experiment with the technologies we used! I’m impressed every time with how much we can achieve within the timespan of a single trimester.”

What the students say

  • “By playing with the lights and the space in my sphere thanks to a simple mechanism (small intervention - big effect) I achieved a breathing movement, almost like a heart-beat, emphasized by the colour rhythm and the reflecting light.” Juliana Vérastègue
  • “My goal was to create a kind of creepy/scary atmosphere by constructing moving shadows inside my sphere. By programming the LEDs to move in a certain sequence and placing objects between them and the glass, I was able to create an illusion of movement. I loved the fact that we were quite free to follow our own ideas (as is reflected in the diversity of the spheres) and, of course, that we collaborated with the craftsmen of the glass workshop in Leerdam. “ – Liza Willemsen
  • “Seeing your own glass ball being blown is something great, it´s like your baby being born.” – Barbora Středová

You can see the exhibition We’ve got balls until 25 February 2018 in the garden of the Nationaal Glasmuseum in Leerdam. Click here for more information. 

Published: 05-Dec-2017 10:09

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  • We’ve got balls - Christmas at the Nationaal Glasmuseum

  • We’ve got balls - Christmas at the Nationaal Glasmuseum

  • We’ve got balls - Christmas at the Nationaal Glasmuseum

  • We’ve got balls - Christmas at the Nationaal Glasmuseum

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