Textures in Glass

I know glass is hardly an innovation, and it’s easily available everywhere, but Småland, the area of Sweden I visit, is the center of European glass-making. Kosta Boda and Orrefors each have their headquarters there, and everywhere you look, you’ll find some reminder, big or small, of one of the world’s great industries.

That Sweden is a major center of glass-making isn’t surprising when you take the combination of water, iron, and forests into account. The largest iron mine in the world is located in the far north of Sweden at Kiruna. Iron is one of the possible metals that can be added to glass to create iridescence, color, or sparkle. (I learn a lot doing these blogs, believe me.)

As early as 1726, Lars Johan Silversparre received permission to build a furnace and a smithy at “the beautiful river that flows into Lake Orrenas”. The iron works was given the name Orrefors, which means the ‘Orre waterfall’. Production of iron became less and less profitable in Sweden toward the end of the 19th Century.  At the same time, forestry became increasingly important, and a glassworks was built in 1898 to utilize spilled timber and labor resources. The basic idea was simple. The glassworks’ requirements would also make use of the most valuable natural resources in the area—the forest.
So, anyway, I took this photo last Christmas; it’s a glass mural hanging in the window of a flower shop.
Multicolored glass hanging

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