Saturday, March 31, 2007

Höglund Art Glass

The local legend is that Ola Höglund left Kosta Boda because of creative differences; nowadays their web and printed material are more polite about the beginnings.

The premise used to have many shed-like buildings and we could go around looking at Ola (and his apprentices) blowing glass, or visit the art glass shop, the "seconds" shop, the gift shop (which, among other things, carried Gotland sheep fleeces), eat at the cafe (we used to go late on Saturdays to have passion fruit cheesecakes), or have a picnic in the garden.

Then they got involved with making official gifts for the Sydney Olympics and the two America's Cup yacht races in Auckland; they opened shops in Auckland, Sydney and Tokyo and a studio in Australia; they built this big shop/entrance, and closed off the rest of the premise; now you pay NZ$15 to see glassblowing and I'm not sure what happened to the cafe or the garden or whatever else that stand beyond the tall walls. And of course no photography anywhere; I had to get permission to shoot this.

They have beautiful pieces; their wares are given as state gifts by NZ prime ministers. Good on them for working so very hard and being so successful; too bad for many locals that we can't go spend a leisurely weekend afternoon at
Höglund any more.

EDIT: We revisited the gallery and was given a chance to meet and speak with Marie Simberg-Höglund on August 7, 2010. We posted some new information in our August 8, 2010 post.

As regards what I wrote in this post in 2007:

  • The local legend about Ola is not true - Ola left KostaBoda for a job in Swaziland where he trained local people blowing glass for 3 years before he came to NZ. The local legend refers to Ola's father Erik Höglund who left his position as a designer at KostaBoda to work as a fulltime artist in Sweden.
  • Between 2002 and 2007, they ran a "Friends Program" where all locals + 10 of their friends and relatives were given free passes for guided tours. Since then, all visitors can read about the process and view a video in a room behind the Gallery reception, and then proceed to view glass-blowing on days when it is taking place, free of charge.


  1. it's peculiar but glass ware is not normally associated with New Zealand... in Canada we typically associate N.Z. with sheep.

  2. Good thing that Christine Boswijk isn't so precious.
    AND her works are gifted by the government.
    AND she was awarded the NZ Order of Merit.

  3. That's too bad that there are no exceptions or special passes for the locals. Maybe you should throw them an idea for this? After all, with more locals they'd probably invite some sales too.

  4. Piika, anything can happen in New Zealand art-wise. Many people come here and find the inner artists in themselves, I think.

    JB, Her work is exquisite. I miss the Cafe, though; I used to love feeling like a tourist while I escaped for one hour from my job at the ex-Polytech.

    Merisi, not a bad idea, that!

    Thanks for visiting, everybody.

  5. You peple are out of touch - you can view glassblowing at Hoglunds free now but need to find out if they're blowing or you'll miss out. Studio is closed end April opens again mid-December. Cafe closed nearly FIVE years ago - shows how often you locals go there eh.

  6. Hardly ever; twice since they did the rebuild. Compared to four-six time a year before that.

  7. Were blowing glass today. Very interesting and didn't cost anything.


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