Making Colour Exhibition – The National Gallery

It is worth seeing…

Luxury is a great patron of the arts. Perhaps not as intense in the past as it is in the present, the luxury became the driving force behind art in the economic world. As much as I am fascinated by luxury I am interested in artistic masterpieces too. Thus, I was delighted to discover the most recent exhibition at The National Gallery in London and tell you my perspective in the nutshell.

As the press release states the exhibition called “Making Colour”, is the first exhibition of its kind in the UK. It invites the viewer to an artistic and scientific voyage of discovery. From sparkling minerals to crushed insects by an interactive display that introduces a new world of contemporary scientific thought colour. Apparently, work on this subject has long been a specialism of the Gallery’s internationally recognised Scientific Department.

Wikiart - Pierre Auguste  Renoir - The Seine At Asnieres The Skiff

Wikiart – Pierre Auguste  Renoir – The Seine At Asnieres The Skiff

My first delight came with a painting of Renoir, “the skiff”. Not to mention that impressionism has always been my favourite period in art, Renoir as its famous ambassador, was the painter who has always managed to get me in this perfect, contemplative mood. The optimistic and colourful stories of real people drinking and having fun have always pleased my eyes.

My thoughts were directed to the rich orange hue of “the skiff” against the blue of the river which dominated on the painting. Since blue and orange are opposites on the colour scale, they become more intense and gave energy to the painting. This mode of mixing colours was only discovered in the thirties of XIX century by Michel Eugene Chevreul, 100 years before Renoir.

Although paintings and colours dominate at the exhibition, it was difficult to ignore the connection between art and science. Curators of the exhibition made the viewer understand how artists overcame the technical challenges involved in creating colour. It examined the origins of paint sources – be it the natural world or human invention – and their supply, manufacture and application, as well as their permanence and colour effect.

For instance, in order to paint the most stunning blue on a dress of Virgin Mary the special ultramarine hue was used. The finest and most expensive of all blue pigments was extracted from lapis-lazuli mineral from the Middle East. At the end of the Middle Ages the mineral began to be exported to Europe and lately used by the most important artists of the Renaissance and Baroque including Vermeer and Masaccio. The super-rich red hue, made from the mineral called realgar, was a natural mineral of arsenic sulphide and was considered as a deadly pigment for painters. Greens achieved from copper carbonate were used to cover roofs and old sculptures (such as the Statue of Liberty).

Apart from the central importance of colour to paintings I was delighted to see textiles, ceramic and glass, all synchronically grouped by matching colours, demonstrated the material connections in these sister arts.
We could observe the creation of new colours such as Prussian blue, discovered at the beginning of XVIII century and used by Canaletto in his famous skies.

Degas - Combing the Hair – Degas – Combing the Hair

The real revolution however, came in XIX century. It allowed Degas to play with different shades of red presented on his painting “Combing the Hair” or other impressionists to experiment with shades of blue. For centuries painters had to mix yellow with blue to achieve green and the revolution of starting to manufacture viridian in 1860 made artists’ life easier.

However, nobody knows for how long the most astonishing pigments which used to achieve the most stunning yellows and reds will be available of the market for. As those pigments consist of cadmium, the EU wants to forbid using toxic colours in modern paintings as they are dangerous to life. I can reassure you that pigments used on our coloured crystal glasses are safe to your health.

An interview with Founder and Creative Director Joanna Maya

Joanna Matyjaszczuk, the founder and creative director of Gurasu Crystal keeps setting up new trends in crystalware. Her design style’s secret? It must reflect on the past but live in the now.



Birds of Paradise Crystal Collection Banner

Birds of Paradise Crystal Collection



What was the reason you decided to form Gurasu Crystal?

My desire was to produce beautiful and timeless objects designed to enrich everyday lives through the use of artisanal skills of crystal craftsmen and craftswomen. The problem, I realised is that for the past decade crystalware was considered as an object too luxurious and traditional to meet the expectations of our modern lives.

The culture of drinking beer in a glass

Travel back in history and open your mind to 1980’s Great Britain. The tradition of drinking beer in a pint glass has changed over the last three decades. Since 1920’s drinking beer was synonym of a glass with a handle called a tankard, in other words, a jug.

In 1970’s this well – known tradition of drinking from a dimpled pint pots which some of you remember from episodes of Emmerdale was replaced with a straight glass.

Beer Glasses, set of 2

The main reason was that it felt more appropriate to drink lager from the conical.

Wedding dresses as design inspiration

Last Monday, as a member of my favourite, Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), I was invited to attend the special members evening to enjoy the exhibition with a glass of champagne accompanied by a beautiful and delicate rhythm of a live music.

Joanna in wedding dress with hair stylist

With hair stylist before the big moment

However, it was not for a glass of champagne, although always my preferred companion to anything related to celebration, nor for the live music. My desire was to escape for a moment from the drawing desk of Gurasu and to contemplate on something intellectual. I was curious to find how the relationship between design and protest of different sorts influenced the ways people have created objects with a specific purpose – sometimes for effect, sometimes to communicate, often both.

Gurasu meets Prezola the leading wedding gift list

Many of us might have wandered around John Lewis when choosing gifts for either ours or our loved one’s wedding list. So did I. Until I have discovered something even better, it’s called Prezola, the leading wedding gift list online service.

A couple of weeks ago we were delighted to learn that Prezola was interested in inviting Gurasu Crystal to their crystal ware brands portfolio.

Wedding gift banner

The platform is very sophisticated and accessible at the same time. Sophisticated because couples can create a list of items for family and friends to choose from the most desired pieces out of a cool 30.000 products from leading brands. Accessible because all those items you have fantasized about are available from the comfort of their own armchair!

For Gurasu Crystal it is essential to be on such a platform as most of our crystal glasses or interior accessories are bought as a special wedding gift. Being a relatively new brand on crystal arena allows us to give our customers more trust and credibility in our brand. Once they decide to purchase from Gurasu, we can start surprising and exceeding their expectations.

Our collections at Prezola include all our bestselling coloured crystal ranges such as Birds of Paradise, Pure Lux or Pineapple as well as Dots crystal votives and empery candlesticks. If you however, cannot find the item on Prezola, they will talk to us and organize desired piece for you!

We would of course be more than happy to find you the perfect crystalware wedding gift from our vast and growing collection.

Summer Saturdays at Gurasu Crystal

I have to truly admit that I am looking forward to our next Summer Saturdays event which Queens Parade, the super trendy shopping destination of Willesden Green High Street, is organizing.

The event runs every first Saturday of each month and this time, we promise, the event will be worth of your visit.

For this Saturday, 5th of July, we invited a stunning flute musician, Jemma Freestone to play in our boutique store at Unit 1 of Queens Parade.

Jemma is a very talented flautist who won a number of reputable awards and we are delighted to have such a skilled artist in our Gurasu shop.

Joanna May and Maciej Matyjasczuk

The idea for inviting Gemma came from a desire to combine classical music and crystalware so that these two can complement each other. For me both crystalware and classical music connect people in a very special way. We don’t listen to classical music and we don’t drink champagne from a crystal glass every day. However, when we do, they make us feel happy, inspired and uplifted. It affects our mood in all kinds of infinite ways and creates unforgettable moments.

We very much would like to welcome you at 4.30pm with a recital by Jemma Freestone over a glass of champagne – in crystal glass, of course.


Joanna May

Founder & Creative Director

Outdoor crystal tableware – alfresco outdoor dining

From open air courtyards to rooftops and somehow cosy gardens to small balconies, we just really, really like to dine and hang out outdoors whenever the opportunity presents itself. So spring and summer are two seasons that are near and dear to our hearts.


Luxurious outdoor dining table



Patterned wine glasses – a history

The earliest examples of the modern style patterned glass (also known as “pressed glass” or “pattern glass”) come from the United States at around 1850. These items were cheaply manufactured and made from patterns which were widely available to hundreds of manufacturers and these items were very popular with the masses. In fact, by the early part of the 20th century, these glass items became known as “depression glass” showing the simplicity and inexpensive nature they had.

Frantisek Vizner Crystal Large Bowl