The Rackow Research Library is an amazing resource. It’s aim is to be the world’s number 1 resource on all things glass related. It’s full of fascinating books, periodicals, leaflets, dvd’s, exhibition catalogues. They archive all kinds of fragile and unique artefacts and documents related to all kinds of areas, such as glass design, manufacture, artistry and history. I was given a tour of the library facilities and archive and shown original design drawings by luminary artists such as Tiffany, Rudolph and Leopold Blashka, Dale Chihuly, all beautifully archived in the pure crisp whiteness of acid free tissue paper.
The staff are extremely approachable and knowledgeable and will help with any topic. They offer this service both in person and online. One aspect I thought amazing is an international inter-library loan service. Via your local library you can request to borrow a book, as long as the Rackow has two copies they will arrange for one of them to be sent to your library free of charge.
As you enter the library on the ground floor there are interesting exhibits of historical photographs and contemporary glass practice. I found the photographs of Travelling Flameworkers from the 1940’s fascinating. It’s such a lovely thing to watch, someone shaping glass over a gas flame that it seems obvious that it was a source of entertainment in those days.
There is a bursary available which is purely for research at the Rackow Research Library. It funds 3 months of study at the Library. I imagine that even with 3 months of focused study you would come away feeling that you have only just scratched the surface.
I found my early love for the Flameworked glass of Rudolph and Leopold Blashka was re-affirmed during my time at the Rackow Library. I would love to return to study their work and immerse myself in all the photographs documents and drawings safely archived here.