Today we were treated to a preserved treasure in glassblowing history. Driving across Sweden from Kalmar in the east to Gothenburg in the west, we had the good fortune to pass The Glass Factory in Boda, Småland. This is an exhibition centre located at the original glassworks, in the heart of Glasriket, the Kingdom of Crystal.
Sadly we didn’t have time to see the full exhibition, with 40,000 pieces by 30 artists, and the current glass blowing studio.
But we did see the old factory building in the glassworks, which has a smaller exhibition and a collection of unique items for sale.
A beautiful reminder of Sweden’s glassblowing history
In the factory building are three original furnaces from the old glass blowing factory. I was taken back by an eerie feeling of stepping into a very personal and emotionally charged history.
The first factory at the nearby partnering Kosta glassworks was formed already in 1742. Boda followed with its wooden glass hut in 1864. The renowned Kosta-Boda partnership started in 1964. Åfors glassworks was also part of this. Upon the arrival of artist Erik Höglund in 1953, Boda introduced artwork to its collections, which has previously focused exclusively on homewares. By 1978, Boda had around 200 employees, many of them known artists and designers.
Cheaper production methods put a heavy brake on this beautiful glassblowing history and tradition. The New Wave Group, the latest owners of Orregors Kosta Boda, announced the closure of Orrefors and Åfors in 2012.
In 2005, many workers were laid off at Boda. Today, above one of the old furnaces at Boda glassworks, is inscribed “140 år slut” – 140 years ends.
The Glass Blowing Factory in Boda still honours its glassblowing history through artist collaborations and guest glass blowers. It’s well set up for visitors who can also get involved, painting and engraving glass.
Scandinavian Road Trip
This post is from the start of our Scandinavian road trip across Sweden and Norway. I really recommend checking out this post with a stunning Norwegian cabin in Manhausen, overlooking the archipelago, above the Arctic circle. If you’d like to see crafts from the UK, here are highlights from the London Craft Week.