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.