The art of making glass
How it all started
Norway’s first glassblowing plant was established in the middle of the 18th century. The glassblowers had to be sourced from abroad, and a new group of work immigrants was formed. During the 18th century, seven glassworks wereestablished in Norway. The supply of raw materials needed for the production (quarts sand and ground quarts) as well as thewood needed to fire up the glass ovens were easily accessible – a huge advantage compared to producing glass in other countries.
The glassblowers were used to moving around, from one glasswork to another and knew their worth. If the wage conditions weren´t sufficient enough, they would leave and find work somewhere else.
The immigrants got the best paid jobs at the Norwegian glassworks. The Norwegians found themselves at the bottom of the ladder, and their work was poorly paid and put their health at risk. This work pattern continued for generations. The children and grandchildren of the foreign glassblowersheld tight to their foreign identity and protected their top positions in the glass cabins.
How it's all done
The glassblower uses a blowpipe made of iron with a small,wooden shaft. He or she starts by collecting the glass at the tip of the tube by dipping it into the melted glass. To control the design, the glassblower blows, rotates and swings the tube – but most frequently, the glass is blown into a form shaping the product to its desired design.
When making a wine glass for example, the upper part of the glass is blown up by cutting it with a diamond and a sharp gas flame. The flame also heats and softens the edge, to make it smooth and rounded. The stem is produced separately and is attached to the glass while it is still sticky.
Heated glass can be shaped by hand in many ways, by usingclips, pliers, scissors and so on. Today, bottles, packaging glasses, light bulbs and cheap, mass-produced glassware ismanufactured in fully automatic machines.
All kinds of glass have one thing in common; if it cools down too quickly, the glass will crack or become weak because of inner tensions. Cooling down and removing the inner tensions of a glass takes place in a cooling canal. The glass is then heated up again (to 540°C) and cools down within a few hours.
The art of glass
The art of glass continues. Martin Johansson proudly works as a glassblower and artist as the sixth generation of glassblowersat the glassworks Hadeland Glassverk. After 143 years, he blows life into his grandfather’s old designs. His ancestors came to Hadeland Glassverk as work immigrants, and havereceived awards for their work. One of them is even considered the best glassblower throughout Hadeland’shistory.
Today, you will find glass workshops all over Norway, from the towns Karasjok in the north to Kristiansand in the south. In general, they are small businesses and have their turnover from selling in-house produced glass art, as well as displays atgalleries, exhibitions, and fairs. They also attract attention and increase the knowledge around the art of glassblowing by organizing different activities and telling their unique story as skilled craftsmen. In June 2020, there were 37 glass workshops in Norway.
Did you know
Did you know? When you buy a product from Hadeland Glassverk, you will get something that no one else has? Every product made is unique. No lamp is the same, and small bubbles may appear – which only makes your product even more special.
Handmade – just for you.