In the first of three public talks, organised by the Libraries of Waterford Institute Of Technology at their Main Campus, Brian Havel, son of the late Miroslav Havel. His fierce pride in his father’s achievements set the basis for his book, Maestro Of Crystal, about his father’s seminal influence on an iconic international brand and that pride and some anger at the destruction of those achievements, with the cruel closure of Waterford Crystal.
He attributed this demise, this destruction, as a failure of the Irish government and that condemnation sounded a note of shameful reminder that iconic factory and showrooms. He detailed his father’s arrival in Waterford from Czechoslovakia in 1947 to work for Mr. Bacik, to make crystal.
Initially, from a small workshop to make pub glasses, by 1952 the Lismore pattern or code 600/318 went on to establish a worldclass industry that in 1986 employed 3,430 people, about one tenth of the city’s population.
It was so obvious from the lecture how culturally significant the design and impact of Waterford Crystal was. This was a major creative design and handcrafted, mastercrafted, work of art.
Miroslav Havel was the cornerstone of art design and we, here in Waterford, need to be reminded of that and the thousands of Glass workers made to make this city, world famous. He retired in 1987 and when RTE came in 2004 to make a documentary on his life, he did not have any of the Lismore pattern in his house.
In his closing remarks there was no mistaking his pointed comments about a government allowing this iconic product and craft be destroyed in a few brutal meetings, where little was achieved as much was lost.
He quoted from Jim Nolan’s excellent The Glass programme for WLRfm and very soon his book Maestro Of Crystal and Nolan’s programme will be significant memories of a great art and great craft.