The old iron glass molds: Background
The old iron glass molds: My artwork

Pukeberg’s Glassworks is situated in the Kingdom of Crystal, a region in the south east of Sweden famous for the glassmaking since 1742. Pukeberg is one of Sweden’s oldest and most well-preserved Glassworks. Glass in a variety of different forms has been produced here since 1871, including household glassware, lamp glass and glass globes for petrol pumps as well as beautiful art glassware.
    Zero Interiör (today Zero) was founded in 1978 with the vision of making unique light fixtures for a design-interested audience. In 1989 the owners bought Pukeberg’s Glassworks. Today the premises houses a number of different actors such as the National School of Glass, the Design Archive, Kalmar County Handicraft Association the restaurant Hos Oss, Ateljéhus Pukeberg and a number of different artists and craftsmen. 

The Sodium factory is a large warehouse located in the area of Pukeberg characterized by a bygone era. Ever since the post-war period, it has been used for storage and thousands of iron glass molds in different degrees of corrosion have been scattered pell-mell from floor to ceiling. In 2016 – 2017 Pukeberg was decontaminated of health-hazardous heavy metals and substances and it was decided that most of the glass molds in the Sodium factory were going to be disposed. Before this happened, I decided to document as much as possible on the location of the glass molds by sketching, drawing and painting. But after a while I was forced to stop and continue my work in my studio instead. Due to all the toxic substances in the Sodium factory, I got nasty itchy rashes.


The documentation has been very important to me, because my work have put the very glass molds in focus. In the glass industry, the (iron) glass mold is just a tool in the production process leading up to the finished glass product or glassware. Developing glass molds are a craftsmanship that is currently disappearing due to the recent decades of decline in the Swedish glass industry. In discussion with many glass workers, I realized that my work is a kind of honoring their skills which otherwise not often are highlighted. It is also of extra importance because many glass workers are either retired or unable to work within their profession nowadays.

In my documentation of the iron glass molds, I have consciously chosen to take a more artistic approach where I often crop the motif relatively hard as a way to get close to the molds. This project is ongoing even though the Sodium factory is empty and most of the iron glass molds are disposed. Instead of working on the site, I now use images of the molds. Most of my art work is done in charcoal because this medium is closely related to the molds and the glass making. On the next page you will find my artwork. ︎︎︎

All work © Louise Swärdshammar 2020