Making the cut
Written by: Štěpánka Strouhalová
Photo by: Věroslav Sixt
Karen Feldman is enriching traditional, elegant crystal cutting
with fresh playfulness and perspective. She produces Czech glass
as assuredly and easily as if she had generations of experience
WHEN SHE MOVED to Prague in 1994, she didn't know much about Czech
glass, but she knew what she liked. "At that time I was discovering
the lovely glass in Prague's antique shops. I had a specific notion
of a glass I would like to buy, but I couldn't find it anywhere.
So I decided to have someone make it for me," she says, describing
her first impulse to go into business.
The adventure called Artěl began in 1997. She named her firm after
the artistic period at the beginning of the last century, when
artists of the Artěl cooperative supported the manufacture of products
that were functional and beautiful, rejecting mass production. "This
idea corresponds to my efforts: although each item is made by hand
and cannot be replicated, you can use it every day," Feldman
says. She surrounded herself with the finest glass specialists. "In
this country I found true masters of their field, and their creativity
and talent are far more developed than in neighboring countries," she
says, adding that "we can afford to be much more courageous
and creative because we're a small firm."
Feldman dreams up and designs the basic artistic ideas, then she
brings in designers who know the specifics of crystal cutting.
Her style can be summed up as classic with a modern concept - elegant,
tasteful, enriched by unexpected, playful motifs. "Inspirations
can come from an old postcard, a piece of textile, glass, or a
motif from a children's book," says Feldman.
For now you can find Artěl's products only in the Modernista gallery,
but they will soon be available in the Four Seasons hotel as well. "In
fact we're focused on exports. We sell our products at Harrods
in London, Barneys in Japan, and Le Bon Marché in Paris." Whoopi
Goldberg, the American presidential candidate John Kerry, and the
fashion designer Marc Jacobs are among those already drinking from
While spring euphoria lasts, stock
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You won't get very much light from
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shop of the month
IN THE ABITARE INTERIORS STUDIO
you can furnish your apartment in high Italian style, but
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