Boda blog 6

At the heart of Boda is, of course, the glass factory, without it, Boda would still, quite possibly, be a small farming settlement with a mill. The factory was opened in 1864 and located in Boda because of the proximity to wood, the fuel for the furnaces, and water power. A mill for grinding glass into powder still stands and was restored in the 1980s.

The Mill, above in March and then in July, and below, the massive grinding stones inside.

For many decades the core of the industrial production of the glass industry was the press mould. Working with the glassmaker Peter Kuchinke, we have located moulds that were saved from former factories in the region. Some of these date from the 19th century. They were kept by the former glass factory owner Lars Ingersson and his cousin Kjell Enerold, who have kindly lent us some for the exhibition and some experimentation!

A mould for making a cream jug photographed when we went to collect it.

We are in the process of cleaning all the moulds and have made some forms using one of them. We are unable to reproduce the original vessel from the mould as we do not have a press, but rather we are trying by hand to making sculptural pieces that bare traces of the original form.

Molten glass was placed in the mould and then pressed by hand

Our problems with this are twofold; firstly temperature, we need to get the mould up to roughly 400 degrees Celcius. We didn’t want to heat the mould by placing in a kiln, for fear of damaging the wooden handles, so we repeatedly pressed with molten glass, using the glass to heat the mould and progressively. We managed to get to 300 degrees, not enough to make a facsimile of the original form, but enough for our purposes. Our other difficulty was pressure. Originally this would have been done with a mechanical press. By hand, we were unable to get enough pressure, but for our purposes, we managed to get the forms we wanted, pieces that combined the design of the piece with more abstract sculptural forms.

A piece in the mould

One piece, along with some of the moulds, will be in the exhibition. An acknowledgement of the glass making traditions that made Boda what it is today.

7 thoughts on “Boda blog 6

  1. Hi John, very impressed with what you are conveying about an important part of my life. If I can help in any way, please contact me, I lived through it and can tell you first hand lots of 50’s and 60’s stuff having lived and worked there but also brought up in London,…Cheers…Ken a.k.a. Hanseman.

    • Hello,
      I have a particular interest in learning about the makers of the engraved glass at Boda. I have a vast collection of engraved Swedish glass from the 20th century, and I don’t know much about my Boda pieces. I wonder if you could help me? Thanks in advance for any guidance you could give me.
      Jennifer (Larson) Silverman

      • Hello Jennifer,

        Unfortunately, I am still learning myself about the history of glass at Boda and haven’t as yet dealt with engraved glass. The museum here has a large collection of Swedish glass from the twentieth century and is working toward digitising it as a research database. This is at the early stages though as funding has yet to be secured. I’m afraid I can’t really think of anyone who I can ask, but will see what the staff know (I’m an artist in residence here, not a member of staff)
        I wish you the best in your research and will let you know if I find anything out

        • Thanks for your reply, Ken. Could you tell me the name of the museum and where it is located? We are coming to Sweden next year. Thank you!
          Jen

            • Thank you, John! Sorry for the name mix-up.

              I think it’s fantastic that the museum is working toward digitising its collection as a research database. I’m planning a trip to Sweden next fall to see family and visit glass sites for some research of my own. I am looking forward to visiting the Glass Factory and hopefully getting some of my mysteries resolved. I’ll reach out to the email you provided – tack!

              Jen

  2. Hello Ken,

    I’m glad that you find my work so interesting. I assume you were at Boda working for some time? I gather that there was always a bit of an international feel to the workforce, with people coming from Greece in the 1970s and around the world more generally.

Comments are closed.