Backhaus-Brown create the majority of their pieces in their Hundested studio in North Zealand, Denmark. The studio is literally placed on the quayside and has the most remarkable view of the sea and the fjords surrounding Hundested. The maritime history of the place and the imagery of Viking ships passing have inspired two of the harbour’s contemporary craft companies; cabinetmakers Egeværk and glass-makers Backhaus & Brown. These two award-winning workshops have combined their masterful crafts in an innovative collaboration; namely a series of sculptures named ”Glasskibe” - Viking ships in glass and wood.
Process #1: Hulls made of glass
The hulls are made of glass – first shaped by hand and mouth and then ground by means of an ancient Italian technique called “Battuto”. The process requires masterful glasswork and implies that two hulls can never be the same.
Process #2: Andrew's Battuto
After having chosen the suitable hulls, they are split into two similar pieces, and processed by hand using the Battuto technique. This is a painstakingly careful process, and every hull gets its own very unique expression. The extraordinary patterns are reminiscent of how the Viking ship planks used to be crafted.
Process #3. Keel construction
When the hull is finished, a meticulous collaboration between the glass artists and the cabinetmakers from Egeværk begins. As every hull is unique, every keel has to be constructed accordingly. Careful drafting and fitting is required for each ship. The keels are made of oak – a must in maritime crafts due to its hardy nature. The strong wood is carefully handled until completely perfect and smooth as silk. At the end of the process the hull and the keel are joined and the ship is being ground and polished for the last time. The details vary from ship to ship – as does the overall expression of each ship.
The Glasskibe project began in 2016, and the viking ships in glass and wood became an overnight success. Just like the original Viking ships, Glasskibe travel wide and far, and are sold to collectors from all over the world. Please visit our Exhibition list or Press page to learn more. Or go explore all new Glasskibe at the Glasskibe website.