The International Hot Glass Symposium is a professional glass blowing event in Estonia that has continuously took place at the Evald Okas Museum by the initiative of glass artist Kai Koppel. For the ninth time after a two year break, in 2013 the Glass Days will yet again be held as a symposium.
This time the theme of the symposium - "Impression"- denotes the liberty of playing and freely experimenting with glass that is specific to the Haapsalu Glass Days.
On this occasion it is planned to experiment both in the glass studio as well as in the exposition hall. Throughout the years, the heart of the Glass Days has been an outdoor glass studio in the courtyard of the Evald Okas Museum in Haapsalu. For a week, artists of different nationalities will be working in the studio under the very eyes of the spectators. In addition to the magic of molten glass, one can see the differences and professionalism of the participants – all the artists have got their own "handwriting", ways and technique.
Every year the symposium ends with an exhibition at the Evald Okas Museum where the works completed during the Glass Days are displayed. These exhibitions hold a special place in Estonian glass art, being particularly essential for the techniques used. Works of blown glass are rarely exhibited in Estonia.
This time the post-symposium display is unique because the spectators can follow the process of completing the exhibition in the attic hall of the Evald Okas Museum. The artists will be engaged in parallel in the glass studio and the exhibition hall, where they will compose installations of the creations born in the studio, and thus gradually form the exhibition. The formation of the showroom and compilation of the exhibits can be observed by the museum visitors during the week.
In the summer of 2013 glass artists from Holland, Germany, Check Republic and Turkey are expected to participate at the exhibition alongside the Estonian artists. The aim of the Glass Days is to establish contacts and opportunities of cooperation for artists from different nations – to introduce our artists to the guests and vice versa. Amongst others, Estonian artists Ivo Lill, Rait Prääts, Eve Koha, Viivi-Ann Keerdo, Toomas Riisalu, and also Lithuanian artist Remigijus Kriukas and Bulgarian artist Lachezar Dochev have had their personal exhibitions at the Haapsalu Glass Days. The event carries a valuable and essential role in Estonian glass art, and especially in the development of glass blowing.
The mission of the symposium is introducing "our" material - glass- to the artists of other fields of art. In previous years sculptors, architects, painters and poets have participated in the symposium.
Artists that blow their own glass, rather than those whose work is blown masters, are invited to the Glass Days, and the professional standards have been kept high throughout the years.
Professional artists from Estonia, USA, Canada, China, Korea, France, Germany, UK, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia and Slovakia have participated in the symposium. The Haapsalu symposium, compared to the similar events held elsewhere in the world, is remarkable for many aspects; the oven is at the artists' disposal for 24 hours, freedom of creation, readiness of experimenting and carrying out new ideas emerging during the work process outweigh precise time schedules. At the same time the participants are always there to advise and help each other. The Haapsalu Glass Days have thus become known for its specific joint creative energy, spontaneity, playfulness and exclusiveness. Glass art and glassblowing in particular is very enthralling and grasping for the spectators too. To see red-hot-glowing glass being turned into works of art and to later recognise them set at the exhibition is a unique occasion in Estonia, and throughout the years the Glass Days audience have learned to value it.