Musverre, Contenporain Glass Museum, Sars Pottery

Musverre, Contenporain Glass Museum, Sars Pottery

Stroll in Avesnois: A life in MusVerrre!

Here we are at Sars-Poterie. If this stroll in Avesnois takes us there, it is obviously not by chance, it is because the new Glass Museum, the MusVerre is there. Glass has engraved the history of Sars Poterie, after seeing it been shaped by the earth ... From the first steps in the city, and even before, in the surrounding countryside, we discover, at the ridge of the houses, at the top of the roofs, Singular and aesthetic “glass flames”. In fact of flames, these are ridge "ears" resulting from a production of what the workers, from the glassworks of Sars Poterie, called the "screwed up", we tell you everything, a little lower ...

One day at the Musverre de Sars Pottery

This is a place where glass lives. Le Musverre is not just a museum about the history of Glass Art, nor really about the history of the glass industry. The Musverre is a museum Contemporary Art glass, where many astonishing, dazzling, magnificent works are exhibited, which allow us to discover glass as a material of expression of Art, as we are rarely used to.

Through the original works, we understand that glass is certainly a living material when heated, but also, that when it is used as a specific material, it contributes to giving life to the works exhibited by its uniqueness. The glass changes the gaze, depending on its position, its angle: its position in relation to the light and in relation to the eye. Like a prism, the glass deflects the perception of the visitor who becomes an actor and enters into communication with the work he is observing. This is very remarkable with certain pieces where the glass displays this physical capacity to capture light in one place to restore it elsewhere, refract it, reflect it or let it pass quite naturally ... and the artists play it admirably.

At Musverre, we understand glass as a material to be shaped, sculpted, shaped, even brutalized in order to produce emotion. Each artist has his universe, his techniques, his method for a result that seduces and questions. Each act of creation is there to distil a dose of poetry, to disturb the gaze, and to amaze visitors. As you can see, the Musverre is a great discovery, a museum that energizes the art it defends with a glass workshop backing onto it. Through all the works on display, the Musverre pays a fine tribute to the workers who showed the voice of the possible with their creativity ...

So do not hesitate to go and discover this splendid Museum - architecturally perfectly integrated into its landscape and its region - and its astonishing, poetic, figurative, interrogative or conceptual works ...

The information is there, in this post-covid period, do not hesitate to contact MusVerre to book your visit

> or by email: [email protected]
> or by phone from Tuesday to Sunday:

Photos taken at MusVerre - Contemporary Glass Museum of Sars-Poterie (59) - Daniel VERCAEMST for Our Website - All rights reserved.

Sars Poterie's glass industry:

Between the beginning of the XIXth Century and almost until the 2nd World War, there was a veritable glass industry in Sars-Poterie, which counted almost a thousand workers, around 800 glass workers.

The screwed up:

During their breaks, the glass workers worked on their creativity, made speak their art of Master glassmaker. They then produced useful, decorative or even religious and sometimes even simply strange objects… these objects were called: “the bousillé”. The messed up objects of no real commercial value but which could have an emotional value, a daily utility, or even be offered as a dowry or as a testimony of their religious fervor.
And for the owners of the factories, the bosses of the time, the screwed up are a real plus, especially in learning. On the one hand, the glassmakers improved their techniques but also, always during this break period, they trained young apprentices, often very young and inexperienced. It was during this period that the cornices appeared. Made up of a sphere surmounted by an oblong ending with a point, the ridge is a very technical object to make and for which a training period was necessary. When the apprentice made a success of a finial, he was beginning to master his technique.

The screwed up often appeal to a certain vision of the glass art, shapes, colors, size, complexity of the object whereas the industrial production of the time was specialized, in hollow glass ... Basic glasses, jars with jams ...

Ear of Factage - region of sars pottery


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Culture: Stroll in Avesnois at MusVerre


Avesnois is a beautiful region crossed by rivers, beautiful crops, sometimes organic, with preserved groves in the countryside ... And it is also a region with a past and a present linked to glass. In the 19th century the hollow glass industry was in full swing, it disappeared - almost - with the 2nd World War. The MusVerre is a museum of contemporary art which does not deny the industry of the past but which gives pride of place to glass creations and its artists from around the world.


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Musverre, Contenporain Glass Museum, Sars Pottery

Archives website
from 2000 to 2017

  • Avesnes / Helpe
  • Bailleul
  • Bavay
  • Bergues
  • Cambrai
  • Cassel
  • Douai
  • Dunkirk
  • Gravelines
  • Hazebrouck
  • Hondschoote
  • Le Cateau-Cambrйsis
  • Le Quesnoy
  • Lille
  • Roubaix
  • Saint-Amand
  • Tourcoing
  • Valenciennes
  • Villeneuve d'Ascq
  • Watten

  • Aire sur la Lys
  • Arques
  • Arras
  • Azincourt
  • Berck sur mer
  • Bethune
  • Boulogne sur mer
  • Bruay Labuissiиre
  • Calais
  • Desvres
  • Etaples
  • Fruges
  • Hardelot
  • Hesdin
  • Lens
  • The Touquet
  • Lillers
  • Montreuil
  • Noeux mines
  • Samer
  • Saint-Omer
  • Wimereux

A museum of the Department of the North

From October 1 to December 31, 2016, admission to the museum is free (only for individuals).

Guided and commented tours.
Group visits by reservation.

Sars-Poteries Glass University

Every year since 1986, international speakers have come and returned to Sars-Poteries, to supervise the trainees and to share their experience as an artist and their technical knowledge. From initiation to improvement, from fusing blown glass, from glass paste to flame work, courses at the departmental glass museum-workshop at Sars-Poteries
respond to all requests.
The departmental glass workshop, through the quality of its equipment, has become a pilot site in Europe for contemporary glass creation.
Anyone can work there on the realization of their projects under the direction of artists from all over Europe, Japan, the United States, Canada or Australia. Welcome to all glass enthusiasts in this space dedicated to creation!

The architectural challenge

The MusVwanders at Sars-Poteries, it is above all an architectural challenge. Beyond the enhancement of the works on display, the building symbolizes the link between a heritage resulting from traditional local production and modernity linked to contemporary artistic creation.

The architectural project responds to the Department's desire to reconcile four key issues:

    create a museum that can fit into the landscape, in line with the morphology of the site, the bocage boundaries and the surrounding constructions

let the museum reveal, through its pure and precise architecture alone, the works that it preserves and exhibits to visitors

offer visitors, as soon as they enter the museum, a rich itinerary and a visit punctuated by views of the surrounding landscape

  • organize separate spaces inside the museum so that each object on display finds its place and reveals its symbolism.

  • VIDEO. Epiphany: big success for the blown glass beans from MusVerre de Sars-Poteries

    500 blown glass beans. Unique models. All handcrafted, heated with a blowtorch, freehand. It was Laura Parisot, a young glass artist, who honored this order from the Sars-Poteries glass museum (in Avesnois-Nord). Each bean is a little gem. So simple. ostensibly.

    "It is a material which is very complex. It is the fact of working with it every day that allows you to acquire real know-how. To have patience and thoroughness", describes the artist.

    The Sars-Poteries Glass Museum had this idea to make itself known: to hide 500 beans in the pancakes of 5 bakers in Avesnois. Important note: its beans reproduce the famous finials, these colorful sculptures found on the roofs of many houses in Sars-Poteries.

    One bean entitles you to two free entries. "Too few people know him, explains Eric de Koning, baker and pastry chef from Avesnes / Helpe who is taking part in the operation. They know there is this museum but they haven't necessarily been there. I think this is a good opportunity to put it forward. "

    The operation went so well that even before the official day of Epiphany, the glass beans are out of stock, according to the museum. "2020 is off to a good start at the store, since we have sold all the sets of beans available in less than 24 hours. A success that took us by surprise, we hope that this out of stock will not create too much disappointment."

    MusVerre signs the history of a territory

    The MusVerre, glass museum of Sars-Potteries, opened its doors in October 2016 in this glass industrial basin that is the region of Maubeuge. It makes sense since it perpetuates and makes visible a typical artisanal and artistic heritage. We get there in 1h30 from Brussels.

    In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the region of Maubeuge, in the north of France, is known for its glass factories. In 1860, in Sart-Poteries, two factories united employing up to 900 workers in a town of 2,600 inhabitants. In 1937, everything stopped. The factories specializing in bottles and glassware were not very mechanized and the economic crisis of the interwar period saw them disappear. It is a huge economic cataclysm that befalls the region.

    At the end of the fifties, a new priest arrived in the parish of Sart-Poteries. Louis Mériaux is passionate about the know-how of his parishioners and begins to collect the mess that he finds in the old master glassmakers. Of all shapes and colors, bousillé are decorative objects that glassmakers create during their break at the factory. Colorful, surprisingly dexterous, sometimes kitsch, they serve to illustrate the know-how of their creator. In the shape of a bezel, cup, glass or decorative element for a burial place, devotional object, ball for a banister, false inkwells. they are present in all the houses. Glassmakers also create for their children glettes or hopscotch palets, decorative animals.

    A first exhibition

    In 1967, Louis Mériaux organized the first bousillé exhibition. It is very successful. A museum was created in 1969 in an old building. It is a museum reflecting the culture of a territory, an "ecomuseum", as the museologist theorized. Georges Henri Riviere. In 1976, workshops were opened there in which master glassmakers could demonstrate their know-how. In 1982, the parish priest, who had been defrocked, organized the first International Symposium on Contemporary Glass. 140 artists / artisans will be there. Czechs, Germans, Australians, Danes, Americans. The event demonstrates the dynamism of contemporary glass creation, freed from the shackles of decorative arts and industry. The exhibits are works of art. A International Colloquium on Glass and Architecture was organized in 1984 and, in 1985, a first European Summer University for Glass. The participating artists deposit the pieces produced during the events at the museum and offer one or other of their works. The museum's collection is growing. This extraordinary history of a territory and its know-how could only be the beginning of a more substantial museum. In 1994, the Nord department offered the museum new means to enrich its collection, welcome artists in residence each year, regularly organize exhibitions and become a real place of exchange and meeting. In 2001, a new workshop was inaugurated. Thanks to its equipment, one of the most efficient in Europe, it can best meet the needs of artists hosted in residency, organize numerous internships and make the international dimension of the museum a reality. In 2009, the General Council of the North decided to construct a new building to best present the collection and bring together all the functions of a modern museum.

    A new building

    It was at the end of 2016 that the MusVerre was inaugurated. Produced by the architecture and town planning agency Raphaël Voinchet and W-Architectures, it covers more than 3,400 m², including 1,000 of exhibition space (compared to 120 previously), and nearly 1,000 dedicated to the reception of visitors and cultural activities (plastic expression workshops, multifunctional room, documentation space, etc.). It is next to the Atelier du verre, where workshops and artist residencies are organized. The building, in the open field, follows the unevenness of the landscape. Widely open to the outside, it allows to highlight the works exhibited in full light.

    "This place is an engine of social and tourist development in a disaster area this aspect is essential", Explain Aude Cordonnier, the director. Indeed, the MusVerre is at the center of a cultural remeshing in the region, a tourist destination which allows the surroundings to see the development of hotels, restaurants and other structures intended for visitors. "I am also very sensitive to the quality of the architectural project", she underlines. In the surrounding villages, colored glass finials are replaced on the roofs of the houses. They are offered by the museum to the inhabitants and can only be placed within a defined geographical perimeter. They sign thus the dwellings.

    Anne Vanlatum, the artistic director, takes a tour of the exhibition halls. "Since the 1980s, glass has detached itself from industry and its utilitarian character. The artists have seized it. In Eastern Europe, artists like to exploit the optical properties of glass and geometric shapes, while the Studio Glass Movement, born in the United States, develops creative freedom. Today, many contemporary artists use glass in their practice. They also have the possibility of renting a workshop to make or be accompanied to make their parts. Lionel Estève was one of the guests in the Atelier", she says. In the large central room, with a view of the pastures and a few cows, the works display their transparency and take on their full meaning. In five small dark alcoves, like cabinets of curiosities, other works more intimate.

    A shared passion is the temporary exhibition of the moment. She presents the bequest to the museum of the collection of a passionate couple, Gigi and Marcel Burg. From 1983 to 2008, they collected no less than 86 works in glass by 65 artists from all walks of life. In May 2016, Aude Cordonnier and Anne Vanlatum meet Marcel Burg in Strasbourg. He announces to them that he is donating his entire Studio Glass collection to the soon-to-be-opened MusVerre, and this unconditionally. The collector will die a few weeks before the museum opens. Throughout the presentation of the pieces, techniques, textures and renderings are as diverse as they are exceptional. So this glass yarn cup of Toots Zynsky, like a seashell. The pebbles in sheets of glass, massive and transparent, Brain and Jenny Blanthorn the beautiful golden and transparent buddha head ofErwin Eisch the small molded glass silhouette, Beetle girl, of Sibylle Peretti. A Neoteric Wheel glass cast in sand, brutalist, Harry E. Stuart. The delicate glass and metal cuts of Sylvie Vandenhoucke the Delivered ofAna Thiel, which mixes an old book and a glass globe.

    The museum is worth a trip to the northern countryside. We take the opportunity to visit the Glass museum-workshop de Trélon, 15 km away, as well as the good towns of Maubeuge and Le Quesnoy, and their 16th century fortifications.

    The Atelier Du Verre Museum in Sars-poteries: A Place of Creation and Discovery

    Sars-Poteries, a small village in northern France located near the Belgian border, has a museum dedicated to the art of glass. The Atelier du Verre Museum invites you to discover the most important French public collection of works in glass, signed by international artists.

    Presentation of the museum

    The Glass workshop museum de Sars-Poteries is a departmental museum which aims to support and publicize the contemporary glass creation.

    This museum can claim to have the largest French public collection of works by international artists. You will be able to discover unique pieces from Japan, the United States, Australia or Europe.

    The permanent exhibition rooms present collections of "bousillé" (works by glass workers) and contemporary sculptures, while another room is reserved for temporary, thematic or monographic exhibitions, always on the theme of contemporary glass.

    To note : this museum is also a workshop which invites artists in residence, to carry out a specific project. Sars-Poteries thus supports young artists. The workshop regularly organizes internships where international artists share their knowledge of glass techniques as part of glass university.

    History of the museum

    The Glass Workshop Museum was created in 1967 by Louis Mériaux, following the success of a bousillé exhibition.

    Sars-Poteries was indeed the seat of two glassworks from 1802 to 1937. During their breaks, the glass workers "screwed up" the glass: they improvised for themselves and for their friends familiar or fanciful objects.

    This collection of bousillé, unique in the world, was completed by acquisitions of contemporary glass from 1987. Since 1994, the museum workshop has been managed by the General Council of the North.

    The museum's collections therefore bear witness to the glass-making industrial history of Sars-Poteries in the 19th and 20th centuries. They also include 550 contemporary works signed by the greatest international artists.

    To note : the museum, currently located in Château Imbert, should move to a new, larger building in 2015. The new museum will offer visitors 1000 m² of exhibition space (compared to 120 m² currently), a sculpture garden and dedicated spaces cultural activities (auditorium, educational workshops, etc.).

    Practical information

    Here is the useful information to prepare for your visit:

    Departmental glass workshop museum
    1 rue du Général de Gaulle
    59216 Sars Pottery

    Phone. : 03 59 73 16 16
    Fax: 03 59 73 16 17
    Email: [email protected]

    • Open every day, except Tuesday: from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
    • Closed on January 1st, May 1st and December 25th

    Prices (individual for 2013)
    • Full price: € 3
    • Reduced price: € 1.50
    • Free for children under 18 and for the first Sunday of the month.

    Guided tour: entry + 2 €
    Family visit (every 1st Sunday of the month at 3 p.m.): free entry + € 2
    Reservation essential 15 days before the event (from Tuesday to Friday morning on 03 59 73 16 16).

    More information :

    The Bousillé

    From the 1967 exhibition, the MusVerre made it possible to discover the glass creation of the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.

    These exceptional pieces were produced by workers during their break time and were intended only for their personal use or as gifts.

    The MusVerre collection is one of the most important objects of this kind. A first exhibition took place in 2014 accompanied by an excellent catalog. Les Bousillé is the subject of a dedicated room within MusVerre.

    Video: Modern Glass Art