Tuesday May 28, 2019 | by Eve Aaron

A new source for cullet offers glass studios another post-Spectrum choice

In the Spring 2019 edition of Glass (#154), I wrote about the impact of Spectrum's decision to stop producing their nuggets (Reflection: "Back to Batch," p. 64). After the last of the backstock of Spectrum nuggets shipped in Summer 2018, the effects were felt across the industry, with one small Midwest studio shutting down and university hotshops retooling to melt batch instead. I briefly discussed Cristalica, an alternative source of cullet from Germany, but the international shipping costs and different chemical composition that affected its compatibility and performance seemed to be keeping it from being a replacement for Spectrum. Now a new product is hitting the market, one that promises Spectrum-like qualities, though the pricing is more on par with its fellow European producer Cristalica. This new cullet is being offered from Bomma, a Czech company that designs a variety of glass products, like Cristalica, so it has the existing infrastructure to produce bulk quantities of cullet. Working with American artist and entreprenur Charlie Parriott, Bomma has developed a recipe for a cullet with a low melting temperature that is compatible with Reichenbach Colors as well as other color manufacturers. We spoke with Bomma marketing director Eva Kozarová to get some more information.

Photo: Courtesy Johana Němečková

Glass: What about Bomma's formula makes it a unique cullet? 
Eva Kozarová: It is a long working, torch friendly glass, that melts at low temperatures. It has no corrosive components in the original formula [making it much gentler on furnaces]. Bomma cullet is a result of a long journey of development, research, and applied testing.

Glass: How are Bomma's cullet sales going in the U.S.?
Kozarová: We have only recently launched our product in the U.S. market, thus it is too early to notice a spike. However we have experienced a very promising start and we believe the popularity of Bomma cullet will rise a lot very soon. 

Photo: Courtesy Johana Němečková

Glass: Could you talk more about Bomma cullet's compatibility with colors?
Bomma is compatible with many color manufacturers and tests at a 96.5 COE, and we test every day.

Glass: What are your hopes for what Bomma can bring to glass makers in the near future? 
Kozarová: The hope is to become the standard resource for clear glass, making it possible to safely combine components from various studios. We want to serve as a dependable and stable producer of cullet for professional and novice glass makers. 

Glass: How does Bomma's cullet compare to that of its German contender, Cristalica, also recently on the rise as a foreign exporter in the American market?
Kozarová: In terms of prices, Bomma and Cristalica cullets are very similar. Having been so recently developed, Bomma perfectly reaches the current needs of the glass market, especially when it comes to its consistent excellent quality. We have designed the cullet to have a round and smooth shape, making it very user-friendly during the melting process. Bomma produces other blown products along with the cullet, thus the quality and characteristics of the product are always being tested. In terms of comparing Bomma with Cristalica, I believe it is the job of the customers, not the producers, to assess the value and quality of these two kinds of studio glass.    

Glass: The UrbanGlass Quarterly, a glossy art magazine published four times a year by UrbanGlass has provided a critical context to the most important artwork being done in the medium of glass for 35 years.