Monday, 3 June 2013

An Austrian, Sparkletastic, Adventure!

Hello beady folks. I wanted to write a blog post about my recent holiday to the beautiful country of Austria (my first trip abroad in 3 years due to my PhD!) and in particular, my visit to the homeland of Swarovski crystal.

The Swarovski Crystal World is in a place called Wattens, a short shuttle bus ride away from the city of Innsbruck. It is situated just behind the Swarovski factory, protected by the giant at the entrance to what can only be described as crystal heaven!

Part cave of wonders, part art exhibition...the Crystal World leads you through different rooms with themes, stories and more crystal than you've ever seen in your entire bead stash; including the amazing 'Wall' of crystal stuffed with every Swarovski element bead shape and colour you can think of and the stunning 'Crystal Dome.' 

 The full height of the Crystal Wall...not to mention a rather sizeable chandelier!

 Close up of the wall bursting at the seams with sparkle

The cool effect of being in a dome completely surrounded by crystal facets!

One of my favourite parts of the exhibition was the Crystal Stage, filled with fantastical creatures and animatronic sculptures, it left me feeling very inspired and eager to create a beadwork fantasy piece. I'm going to watch some of my favourite fantasy films to continue to keep my creative juices flowing on these ideas...Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal & The Never Ending Story. Spookily enough, when we got back to our hotel after visiting the crystal world and were sat having a hot chocolate in the dinning area, whilst I was mulling over all my fantasy based ideas and inspirations, what song should come on in the bar area...but the theme tune to The Never Ending Story film!! (A bit of a coincidence considering that that movie was released the same year I was born, some 28 years ago!)

This was my favourite piece in the crystal theatre - the 'dress' was covered in crystals in every shape and size you could possibly imagine.

Another very clever and inspiring room was the one entitled 'Reflections,' where large 3D polygons featured projected on their surface an ever changing representation of everything in the entire universe...maths, science, history, art, nature and everything in between; with beautiful colour changes and moving images, this room left me feeling both amazed and reinvigorated...I can't explain it, but I came out of that room smiling and the feeling of my spirit, which has taken a fair battering in recent months, being soothed and healed somewhat.

The final room before you exit into the remarkably mahuuusive Swarovski shop, is the Crystal Forest, featuring an amazing jellyfish complete with colour changing tendrils that draped the entire length of the room. I love the photos I got of this piece - there is only one jellyfish, but the mirrored walls created the effet of there being two, and I just kept snapping away as it went through all its colourways. I managed to put together a short sequence of these photos as an animated GIF so I hope you can get an idea of the beautiful effect created by this piece.

 I could show you soooo many more photos, but this blog post would go on forever! I will tell you that I did treat myself in the Swarovski shop - I bought a pair of beautiful tanzanite earrings that I hope to wear to my PhD graduation this summer, and a simple silver ring featuring a medium vitrail crystal star stone.

As well as those souveniers, I have come away with lots of ideas and a renewed sense of focus for the next 6 months, which after a tough previous 6 months, was just what I needed. I cannot wait to share some of these ideas with you in the weeks to come. 

I hope you have enjoyed hearing about my trip - I can wholeheartedly recommend a visit to the Crystal World for any beader or crystal addict, so if you ever get the chance to go, don't miss it!


Nicole xoxo