Never having been regarded a particularly notable source of classical glassware, the countries bordering the Baltic Sea embraced the growth in popularity of the Art Glass movement which mushroomed alongside the wider awaking of Scandinavian design ideas. Essentially simplistic shapes with echoes of a more traditional balance of form and function, the blues and whites of clear skies and snowfields are common themes in pieces from the region, tinged with the greens of the great coniferous forests which shroud the mountains and occasional splashes of volcanic reds and oranges.
Of all the Nordic countries, it was Sweden which was to the fore in glass production, simply because it was generally the most affluent and stable area, and there was more scope for the population to undertake and explore artistic endeavours.
The Swedes lead from the front, pioneering methods of producing blown and cased glassware, while specific manufacturers became known for carved and cut wares. Ohrstrom, Lindstrand, Ernest Gordon and Bergqvist are all eminently collectable practitioners of Sweden’s glass arts.
Embracing other aspects of design, Swedish glass artists were just as likely to be known for creativity with ceramics, textiles and paintings as they were for their vitreous endeavours alone, and the flair and renown for their production of housewares in general was to become a recognised national trait.
Elsewhere, the Finns excelled in the creation of blown glass items, particularly in the 1950’s and 60’s when they embraced pop art culture with a somewhat incongruous free spirit. Wirkkala and Sarpaneva separately developed a range including vases, candlesticks and jugs, all which bore a rugged, textural hallmark redolent of their own country’s more readily acknowledged somewhat bluff and unyielding persona, and the peculiarly Danish fancy for working with plastics was reflected by Holmegaard & Co’s production of bright, colourful blown-glass pieces that resembled the synthetic material.
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