“In this great chain of causes and effects, no single fact can be considered in isolation.” – Alexander von Humboldt
Are you in France this summer from April 6th to September 22nd? If so, a trip to the Alésia, ancient town situated on Mont Auxois, above the present-day village of Alise-Sainte-Reine in the area of Côte d’Ore, France, is well worth adding to your agenda. It is a chance to take in the Gallo-Roman ruins but also visit an unusual and first of its kind exhibition of Celtic glassmaking that does not only demonstrates medieval times but traces the path of glass making from ancient times through a series of seemingly unrelated connections to a fundamental and essential aspect of the modern world…glass bracelets.
The exhibition studies the connection of migration of glassmaking from Egypt to Gallo-Roman era and its connection to modern day Nigeria. Joëlle Rolland PhD, researcher professor, at Maison de l’Archéologie et de l’Ethnologie, René Ginouvès has spent the last year organizing this exhibition about the production of Celtic glass bracelets. As Joëlle Rolland expertise is Celtic glass, her research spanned Egypt, Nepal and the glass makers of Bida, Nigeria. She discovered the work of Elisabeth Thea Haevernick who publish in 1960 her thesis on Celtic glass bangles and, the ethnologist, René Gardi who also researched Bida glass in the 1970s and wrote articles with comparisons with the work of Celtic bracelets. As well as, Leo Frobenius in 1911 who visited Bida also illustrated the techniques of fabrication with the famous illustrations Celtic glass. All of this, by chance, led Joëlle to my documentation of the glassmaking in Bida, Nigeria. Read: Bida: Bangles and Beads.
During the last four years, we have stayed in close contact sharing information. Joëlle invited me to participate in the upcoming exhibition on Celtic glass at MuséoParc Alésia. Joëlle will be demonstrating the manufacture of bracelets with the glassmaker on the weekends of April 13-14 and also in September, the weekend of 21-22.
For those of you who might not be able to visit, below is my contribution to the catalogue and the table of contents;