The History and Development of Hauges Hantverksglas

I worked for Älghult Glass Works for 10 years, for 6 of them as a glass-blower. Then, in 1991, after one year teaching about glass at Denmark Design School in Copenhagen, I found myself unemployed. That turned out to be the start of something new.

I still wanted to work with glass, but could not afford to invest in a glass-melting furnace, so instead I looked for other techniques that I could use as a hobby while unemployed. I have always been in favour of a recycling society, and new recycling techniques for non-returnable packaging are essential. I took my interest in the environment and used it as the basis for a business idea: to reshape glass bottles and jars.

After two years of experimenting and fixing up my workplace, "Heinz Tomato Ketchup" found they liked my carafes and jars made from their 1 kg bottles. They gave me an order for 300 carafes to give away as business gifts and use in public relations promotions. They started an advertising campaign using a brochure distributed via the ketchup shelves of Sweden's largest department stores. That was how the "snowball effect" started, with other companies also wanting to raise their environmental profiles, including recycling their glass packaging.

The timing was perfect. I started my company in January, 1994 and within a year a new law had been passed, placing obligations on companies regarding their glass packaging. Our glass is now sold in about 50 stores in Sweden and we have also begun to export a small amount. Since the raw material is free, and because we don't use processes demanding high energy, we can keep our prices very low in comparison to those of traditional studio glass.

Examples of exhibitions

  • Galleri De 20, Växjö 1994
  • NK Stockholm 1995-96
  • Galleri St. Gertrud, Malmö 1995
  • Galleri Gredelin, Kalmar 1995-96
  • Galleri Svarta Soffan, Stockholm 1996
  • Örebro Slott 1996
  • Noshörningen i Kalmar 1996-01
  • Glasmuseet, Växjö 1997
  • Konstfrämjandet i Uppsala 1999
  • Sydosten i Kalmar 2000
  • Grenada, Spanien 2000
  • Brüssel, Belgien 2001
  • Bromölla Konstförening 2002
  • Tjustbygdens Konstförening Gamleby 2006
  • Struer, Danmark 2007
  • Skansen, Stockholm 2008
  • Galleri Salem, Stockholm 2009
  • Galleriutställning, Vetlanda Hantverksförening 2010
  • Separat galleriutställning på Farum Kulturhus, Köpenhamn 2011
  • Konstutställning på Region Hovedstaden, Hilleröd 2011
  • Liljevalchs, Stockholm 2012
  • Galleri Rasch, Rönne 2012
  • Konsthantverkarna i Ystad, 2012-2013
  • Gambros Konstgalleri, Lund 2013
  • KAOS, kooperativ Österlen 2013

For the past 16 years I have held my own classes in bottle reshaping, with students and trainees from Orrefors, Kosta and the University College of Arts Crafts and Design in Stockholm.

In the year 2000 I had a ten day exhibition in Grenada, Spain, while at the same time working with my mobile oven. After the exhibition followed a one week class in a small mountain village. I have also been a guest lecturer at the glass academies in Orrefors and Kosta.

In spring 2006 I initiated a SIDA-project in Namibia. Marie Johansson worked there for Svenska Afrikagrupperna and managed to involve the Namibian government as well as several local businesses in the project. The idea is to spread my environmentally friendly recycling technique so that old, discarded bottles everywhere may again hold value, as well as to provide young people with an education that will help them find work. My wife and I were there for a month and created two reshaping workshops, one at the academy of arts in the capital Windhock, and another one in a school in norhtern Namibia (Ondengwa). We held classes there for a month and in spring 2006 six of the most promising students spent two weeks here in Sweden learning from an additional class.