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Exploring The Crystal Glass Kingdom - Småland
Jan 14, 2019

The Småland region is one of the most Swedish-rich areas – the vast forests and the traditional red wooden houses form a stark contrast. It is the center of the crystal glass manufacturing industry and has enjoyed the reputation of “Crystal Kingdom” since the 18th century. As the creative center of Swedish art crystal glass, many world-class glass blowing masters have been born here.


Hehu Workshop

Jan-Erik Ritzman's glass workshop Transj Hytta is hidden in a lush forest in the small village of Transj. It is said that the word Transj means “Tiger Lake”, and Hytta is the Swedish “glass workshop”.

The crane lake workshop hidden in the forest This photo is taken by Nazo

The entire workshop consists of several independent wooden houses separated by a small stream and scattered around the forest. The bright red color of the wooden house and the whiteness of the window frame are in stark contrast. There are a few colorful hollow glass balls floating on the creek. The lush greenery is dotted with lovely glass mushrooms. The wildflowers in the forest are full of flowers. Everything seems to be natural. In the spring sunshine, it is more and more obvious. A little fairy tale.

Ritzman came on his bicycle casually, shook hands with me, and introduced me to the little black cat in the studio. This easy-going old man is one of Sweden's top glass blowing masters. He entered the historic Kosta Boda glass factory in Sweden in 1957 and was awarded the title of Master of Art Glass Blowing in 1964. He is also the youngest art glass blowing master ever. It should be noted that the glass blowing process has strict specifications and lineages. In order to become a blowing master, it is necessary to receive training from the age of childhood, and to learn every technique of glass making, it usually takes more than 25 years to integrate all the crafts. Thus become the master of blowing on the side. Since the 1970s, Mr. Ritzman has traveled the world for teaching and consulting. He is the first glass master in Europe to blow demonstrations in the United States and has also given technical guidance at factories in China. Today, his work is often found in museums and galleries around the world.

Mr. Ritzman and his partner, another glass art master, Sven-ke Carlsson, left Kosta Boda in 1982 to form their own studio. Just because they want to make more innovative attempts and explorations on the special materials and ancient crafts of glass, they prefer to call the workshop "laboratory" and generalize their style as "mid-century modernism."

In the Hehu Workshop, I saw a large number of textbook-level classic works full of Scandinavian introverted and elegant aesthetic taste. In contrast, there are also many contemporary colors of glass that are passionate and unrestrained, with an unconventional form and full of free creativity.

I can't help but ask what Mr. Ritzman's most proud work is. He casually took a colorful chicken-shaped glass jug from the shelf and said to me: "I like this style of work most now. It is so casual. Freedom, full of play and fun, often makes people happy."


Malleras Glass Factory

Mats Jonasson walked out of his studio, and the navy blue work apron was full of dust. The master of glass art, who is known for his etching and carving techniques, is nearly seventy years old and still works tirelessly in the workroom every day. Matlas Jonasson's Marellas Glass Factory is also one of the most prestigious and internationally renowned glass factories in the Småland region, dating back to 1890.

“Smoane’s vast forests and beautiful nature have been very refreshing since ancient times, and most of my inspiration comes from this.” He pointed to the abstract glass art like a totem mask and told me that it was his favorite work. First, the perfect combination of cast iron and glass two ancient materials.

Mats Jonasson's handmade signature products

It’s the most appropriate to describe Mr. Jonasson’s work with a soft and soft style. The clear transparent crystal glass etched animal is vivid, the fresh and lovely flower series glass ornaments have feminine femininity, and the cast iron glass mask shape, Large animal sculpture glass works reveal masculine and tension everywhere.

Mr. Jonasson's glass making career began in 1959. He has worked closely with many famous Swedish contemporary glass artists. He loves the beautiful nature of the Småland region, and the theme of his creation is mostly natural objects such as animals and flowers. the Lord.


Kosta Boda

The Smolan region has become the center of the Swedish glass manufacturing industry, mainly thanks to its unique geographical environment: the melting furnace of molten glass requires a lot of wood to work around the clock. The early carved glass manufacturing needs water to drive the mill to provide power. . The Smolan region is rich in forests and rich in lakes and rivers, providing superior material conditions for the glass industry. In addition, in the mid-19th century, Sweden's population experienced rapid expansion. In the Småland region, where there is almost no other industry, glass factories are also the best way to consume local surplus labor.


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