ARTICLE Nicole James
Ola and Marie Hoglund live and work in their humble studio in Nelson with scenic views for creativity and relaxation.
Where did your glass blowing art business start?
We arrived in New Zealand 1982 from Sweden. We settled in the beautiful Nelson region where we decided to start up our own glassblowing studio so that we were able to have our children around while working. Ola built his first glassblowing furnace from recycled bricks and we were melting crushed recycled juice bottles from a local fruit farm. The only colour compatible with the bottle glass was cobalt; so all our first pieces were blue.
How would you describe the development of where you are now compared to when you first arrived in Nelson?
Thirty-two years later we are all living by the studio on the outskirts of Richmond near Nelson. We are still a small family business with Ola and our two sons, Ossie and Oliver, blowing the glass and Marie working with glass fusing and painting. Our glassblowing studio has not changed much since we begun. Our furnaces are now imported from Europe and we are no longer restricted to what coloured glass we make.
What is unique about your studio and showroom?
Our studio and showroom are set in a tranquil country garden, which is also our home – so we are very lucky to be able to work from home. The glassblowing studio is an open studio with beautiful views of the green gardens and mountains. It is a very inspirational and creative environment.
How long does it take to create one of your pieces?
We make our own glass from scratch by melting a mix of silica sand, lime and soda in the furnace at +1360 degrees Celsius for a minimum of 12 hours, but often up to 48 hours before it has become a clear liquid ready to be blown at +1150 degrees Celsius. The challenge for the glassblower is to work as swiftly as possible before the glass cools down and gets too hard in shape. We work with bold colour combinations and mix colours within the crystal clear glass.
Which piece of glass that you have created would be your favourite?
At the moment our favourite piece is the Graai blank.
Where are you currently located internationally?
We have been in Nelson for the last thirty-two years. In 2000 we were one of 400,000 applicants to win a license for the coveted 72 licenses to create official art glass for Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, and for the last 12 years we have been blowing glass during the winter months at our small studio in the rainforest in Far North Queensland in Australia. The secluded location makes it possible for us to recharge our creativity and spend time in new work, techniques and designs.
Are you looking to expand in the near future?
We have made a lifestyle decision to stay a small family business. Building the business and having glass galleries overseas was fun at the time, but our passion is to create glass.
What are the benefits of working in a family business?
Glassblowing is all about teamwork. We can’t think of a better team than our own family.
Where do you draw the inspiration from your pieces?
Ola: “Inspiration just comes to me. As I get familiar with the material, I start to know how it is going to behave. My strongest interest is in mastering the forms and pure lines. The simpler they are, the more challenging they are.”
Marie: “My inspiration comes from retrospective influences and a passion for colours, patterns, texture and what is around us, people and big cities, travel, our connection to the landscape and the vibrant energy of the earth, oceans and space.”
What one piece of design advice would you give to renovators?
Select homeware that you love and don’t restrict your choice by trends and fashion. Pieces you love will keep on giving you pleasure and beautify your home through your whole life.
For more information, visit the Hoglund Art Glass website.
All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.
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