Internship in The Glass Factory, Sweden

2 Months

The Glass Factory is located in the middle of nowhere in Sweden. It is a glass blowing workshop where they work with many artists, designers and students who often stay there for a number of days and have work done in glass together with the glass blowers. In addition to the hotshop, there is also a museum with changing exhibitions of modern glass-art and history. Downstairs in the basement there is a very large archive with glassware that goes back years in time and says a lot about how important the glass industry was and is in this region of Sweden. The Glass Factory is located in Boda Glasbruk, a town that has not really anything to offer in the winter except a few houses, a lake and endless forests.

The nearest supermarket is 18 kilometers away. That’s why I thought it would be useful to take on this adventure with a car trip to Sweden, so that I would not be completely cut off from civilization there,
but also have the freedom to visit other places by car. The journey to The Glass Factory was quite long. I left from Ede, the Netherlands and in Kiel I spent a night with friends to take the boat to Denmark and the bridge to Sweden the next day. I arrived in Boda Glasbruk late in the evening,but I was immediately welcomed very nicely by everyone from The Glass Factory. The internship supervisor and glassblower, celebrated his birthday with a dinner at The Glass Factory. Opposite The Glass Factory, you only have to cross the street, is a house where I stayed during my 2-month internship. The house looks a bit like a hostel. It has several bedrooms, a small shared kitchen and a large table. Very basic but perfect for my stay. This made it very easy to connect with others staying in this house. During my internship I was able to expand my network and get to know super nice people by cooking together and drinking a beer. At times the house was filled with artists and designers at other times there was no one there.

Every working day I started an hour or half an hour earlier in the glass blowing workshop to blow glass and repeat techniques. This was a nice rhythm to start the day. But also to get used to the workshop and the type of glass and tools, especially in the beginning. After this, we often started with a small meeting in the team to discuss the day or week and divide the tasks. The working atmosphere was very fun, lots of jokes but also a lot of serious work. I learned a lot from different glassblowers.

Over the weekend I had time to do my own work. Then I could try out and delve into techniques that I had seen before during the work week. But also trying out ideas and creating works for my own art practice. The Glass Factory could not pay me during my internship, but because of these days when I could work for my- self, I still felt like I was being paid and appreciated for the work I did. What interests me about places like The Glass Factory is the combination that is made between craftsmanship, technical skills and art\design that involves free thinking and stretching boundaries. It is always interesting to see how an assignment is carried out by the glassblower and the artist responds to this. There is a lot to
experiment with the material here. Making it a nice environment
for artists. During my internship, Peter Kuchinke was my supervisor. He has an enormous amount of knowledge about glass and glassblowing as well as techniques and is very involved in this glass world. I was able to follow several supporting theoretical lessons and lectures from him. He also shared fantastic stories about glassblowing in Venice and other crazy stories related to his work.

What was also nice about my internship is that there is so much nature around The Glass Factory. On days off I was able to take very nice hikes along lakes, near the sea and in green forests. There are all kinds of mushrooms and moss to be found. The landscape is flat with loose stones here and there and endless forests. It gave me a lot of peace in between working. My work has a connection with nature. It was inspiring to occasionally step away from the workshop and immerse myself in nature.

My internship allowed me to further develop as a glassblower
and artist. I met new friends and a different culture. Sweden could
be a place for me to live and this was also something I wanted to
find out. The Glass Factory is definitely a place to go back to. I am very happy with this experience.