The intense heat was to be produced by wood stoves, and this would require fuel. Another requirement was skilled professionals, who were firmly determined to achieve something. In time, countless glassworks would be established here. When this industry reached critical mass, competition kicked in, and suddenly, it was the artists’ turn to take the stage and provide the various glassworks in the area with uniqueness. And thus, the next phase began: a competition to determine who could create the thinnest, most highly decorated, most colourful, and most intricately engraved glass. This competition grew so fierce that word of it reached all the way to the continent. Swedish glass became a concept synonymous with desire and wonder. Kosta, Boda, Skruf, Bergdala, Lindshammar, Nybro, Pukeberg, Åfors, Älghult, Orrefors. Each of them had their own glassworks, their own staff, and their own particular style.
As the years passed, demand eventually grew so strong that factory methods replaced glassblowing, to keep up with the great hunger for Swedish design. It’s something of a paradox that this success would initiate the gradual decline of this proud tradition. Kosta alone remains today. It was also where a lost young woman from Lund ended up after questing for something to do. With her hands. Perhaps something was coming to an end, but for Hanna, it was all just beginning.
It could just as well have been metal or wood. I never did very well in school, and I didn’t bring much cultural capital along from home. The fact that I ended up working with glass is actually the result of a series of coincidences. My education was highly influenced by the local industry, and my school was just across the road from the glassworks. They trained us to be industrial workers, blowing wine glasses. After this, I worked at the school for a year, and it wasn’t until then that I decided to seek higher education, and try to apply my practical skills to artistic pursuits.
Hanna Hansdotter didn’t have a clue that Konstfack even existed. But that was where she would find some important pieces of the puzzle. Craftsmanship was important, of course, but to get anywhere, she was going to need a few more tools than that. And, not to be forgotten, a unique set of contacts. The first year was basic training, as she learned to make her way around all the different workshops.
In the second year, I got pregnant, and then I was out of school for two years. That could have been the end of it, because I didn’t even really know what I would do, or whether I’d ever go back. I was working at a playschool, and I became single during that time. I ended up going back to Konstfack for another year, and that’s when it happened.