Målerås was a surprise to me. Yes, I have seen their objects in the information brochure but to see them three-dimensional and to touch them made me aware how much the glass masters actually invent new techniques. The glass artists at Målerås have invented a method to cast the molten glass into molds which have been made based on drawings for the desired objects. The cast glasswork is then etched and carved furtheron and at the end it is painted from the back side. Very delicate work, albeit some might look kitschy. There are animals, faces, hearts, torsos, vikings, runic letters and stone carvings, flowers, Dala horses, you name it. Most of the objects are painted afterwards but several are not. And they make little glass objects as pendants (see photos). Most of the objects were not exactly my taste but I liked the ones with sunflower, daisy and poppy. They look beautiful in a row in sunny days and for the rainy season can be used with another invention of the glass factories, a little pedestal with light bulb which illuminates from the bottom.
Their prices are fair, given the amount of work after the cast (etching, painting) I found them even quite reasonable compared to the others. For my flowers I paid 355 SEK each (the price with glass pass), I found it on a UK website for 86 USD, 70 € or 68 GBP (the one which says Floral Fantasy), which is about the double price. There is an US website as well but they have mostly the animals, bodies and other flower objects, so I cannot compare their prices with the ones at Målerås.
More photos of their work in my Målerås albums.
Målerås Hytta is located east of Växjo and northeast of Kosta Hytta. From Växjö, drive road 25 eastward until the village of Eriksmala. Turn north (left) here at the roundabout, pass Kosta and turn right onto road 31 direction Nybro, Kalmar, Orrefors. After approx. 10 km, the sign Målerås Glas Bruk will lead to the left (north) and then it is another 1 km to the factory and shop. Google maps though suggests another road, 23 north out of Växjö, then direction Dädesjö (the one with the old church), south into 31 at Lenhovda and further on until the exit to Målerås.
Location of Målerås Glassworks on Google Maps
What to buy: Update April 2001:
What to pay: Currency converter
Without doubt, Kosta has the biggest selection of glassware to buy in the whole Kingdom of Glass. Moreover, Kosta is not only a real Swedish village but also a tourist village. They have cottages, camping, a swimming pool of the size you find in public swimming pools. For shopping, they have a huge outlet for the glass, a separate one called Kosta Outlet, which is more like a mall with several small and bigger shops other than glass and a buildung called “Hem” (= home) with any kind of home decoration, clothes, ceramics and glass from other manufacturers (SEA mostly). Busses stop here and the parking lots have space for something like 100 busses and 1000 cars. There is a little restaurant where snacks and coffee is offered (and mjölk for the milk addicts), small huts with several handmade stuff (baskets, garden decoration), there is Kosta’s museum and a huge building which serves as showroom. Did I forget anything? Oh, yes, the glass factory, haha.
If you want to buy any object from the Kosta, Boda or Åfors selection, this is the best place, because they seem to have sales with lower prices every once in a while. But you have to be able to cope with the masses of people who do the same: glass shopping. They also have the biggest colour selection for the glassware which comes in different colours. The Boda shop, for example, does not have this big colour selection. And the prices are a real bargain. Since there is a Kosta Boda US online shop and another shop, Crystallia, it is easy to compare prices. I bought a lot of the Mine collection, and these are the prices I paid (Kosta prices are including 10% off with glass pass):
Tumbler: 116 SEK at Kosta, 25 USD at the US shop, 21,35 USD at Amazon and Crystallia, the one in white was even only 54 SEK at Kosta,
Ice cream cup: 116 at Kosta, 30 USD at the US shop,
Tealight holders: 44 SEK at Kosta, 20 USD at the US shop,
Bowls and plates (medium size): 143 at Kosta, 30 at the US shop,
Tulip bowl (small): 215 SEK at the Kosta shop, 85 USD at the US shop.
I suggest to visit the showroom first, because they have not only the newly designed glass objects like the one called “Friends” with little animals looking out of the glass bottom or the duck at the bottom of the carafe (see photos) but also decorated tables and parts of rooms so that you get an idea how to combine colours or how the several glass objects or dishes go together on a set table. I have made several albums with photos from Kosta factory (glass blowing) and the showroom exhibits on my Kosta page.
Kosta Hytta is located east of Växjo. From Växjö, drive road 25 eastward until the village of Lessebo. Turn north (left) at the roundabout just after ICA supermarket (which is on the right/south side), direction Kosta. After approx. 12 km, turn north (left) on road 28 and then it is 500 m more northward on the right (east) side of road 28.
Location of Kosta Glassworks on Google Maps
What to pay: Currency converter
Within the Kosta-Boda-Åfors group, this might be the most interesting factory to watch glass blowing but it has the smallest shop and thus the smallest selection of glass work. When I was there (August 2009), they had mostly objects of the Mine collection and other neutral glass ware. With neutral I mean objects which everyone might like, in contrast to the overly designed things with huge faces and heavy colour combinations. I liked the shop because it was small and because it was not heavily crowded. The prices were the same as at the Kosta shop, although they also have several especially reduced goods. The photos I have selected for this tip I took at Kosta but these reflect best which kind of products you will likely see at the Boda shop. The first two are of the Mine collection, the other two are the Christmas decoration specialities.
Next to the Boda shop and glass factory there is an outlet called Design House Stockholm. They sell beautiful decoration and everyday things, very simple but very beautiful in my opinion. I bought several ceramic mugs there (no photo, maybe later), white at the outside and blue circles resp. orange dots inside, the same decoration on the coasters and a simple wooden stick as a spoon. They come with a little card which says “Don’t make something useless unless it is both necessary and useful. But if it is both necessary and useful, don’t hestitate to make it beautiful”. This sentence describes also the majority of what they have in this shop. Prices are reasonable and the 10% discount with the glass pass will also be accepted here.
For those who are interested: I have a set of albums of “how to make a rooster” on my Boda page. But that’s about the glass factory and their masters.
Boda Hytta is located east of Växjo and also east of Kosta and Afors Hytta. From Växjö, drive road 25 eastward, pass the village of Eriksmala and continue direction Kalmar. After approx. 10 km, watch out for the sign “Boda Glas Bruk” and turn left (north) at the sign. It is another 2 km drive until the glass factory and shop are on your left (west).
Location of Boda Glassworks on Google Maps
What to pay: Currency converter
Like Boda, Åfors also belongs to the Kosta Group and the shop is much smaller than the big one at Kosta. But since the famous designers of the group (Ulrica Hydman-Vallien, Bertil Vallien and Ludvig Löfgren) have their design studios here in Åfors, the selection in the shop focusses on their designs. In addition, the glass factory is maybe the one which makes the most interesting glass work to watch. At least this was the case when I was there. I have added photos of the work where Ulrica Hydman-Vallien was responsible for the design. These faces, hearts and tulips are not inside the glass but painted afterwards. As for Boda, the prices are the same as at the Kosta shop with occasional special discounts. The 10% discount with glass pass also applies here.
Åfors Hytta is located east of Växjo and south of Kosta Hytta. From Växjö, drive road 25 eastward until the village of Eriksmala. Turn north (left) here at the roundabout and east (right) after 50 m. The glass factory and shop are less than 1 km on the right side of the road.
Location of Åfors Glassworks on Google Maps
What to pay: Currency converter
Pukeberg is famous for lamps and for colourful utility glass. They also do little glass objects like animals (small, approx. 5 cm), vases, transparent utility glass and much more. Have a look at their website to get ideas of what to expect. It was the first glass factory and shop I visited during my 3 days stay in the region because it was the one farthest from my accommodation at Bergdala. Somehow I wasn’t tempted to purchase goods already because I knew that I would get Bergdala and Kosta items. Now, in retrospective, I wish I had bought at least some of these cute glass fruit. Ok, next time.
Pukeberg Hytta is located east of Växjo in the outskits of Nybro city. From Växjö, drive road 25 eastward until Nybro, follow the signs for Kalmar until you see the sign for Pukeberg Glass Bruk. From the exit, it is less than 1 km on the right side of the road.
Location of Pukeberg Glassworks on Google Maps
This is a fantastic shop, located in the same building as the hand paper factory at Lessebo. They make the paper all by hand in and with the old machines (see to-do tip for the factory visit) and then sell it. The paper is very beautiful and comes in a rich variety. You can buy paper with little dried flowers, little fabric threads, shredded money or confetti. You can buy watercolour paper in all different sizes. You can buy watermarked paper with moose and other symbols, little hangers for gifts, envelopes with cards, you name it. I loved their paper with shredded money (our good old Deutsche Mark, they said – I investigated it with my microscope and yes, it is true). Their A4 size paper with the shredded money was 20 SEK per sheet, 125 SEK for a sheet of A3 size, a set of five cards with envelope 50 SEK, the little hangers 10 SEK per piece. You could also buy a carton of their regular, machine made coloured paper (the one they produce next door but on industrial scale) for 78 SEK. That one contained approx. 70 sheets of paper, weighing approx. 110 g/m2.
(the prices above are before the 10% off with glass pass. But the discount is given here as well).
More photos of their work in my Lessebo albums.
Lessebo Pappersbruk is located east of Växjo. From Växjö, drive road 25 eastward until the village of Lessebo. Turn straight ahead (east) at the roundabout just after ICA supermarket (which is on the right/south side), direction Kalmar/Eriksmala/Nybro and after 50 m, turn left (north) onto the parking lot of the paper factory.
Location of Lessebo Hand Dipped Paper Manufacturer on Google Maps
What to pay: Currency converter.
It is easy to fall in love with Bergdala’s simple blåkant plates and dishes because of the intense blue colour. That’s what happened to me before I travelled to Sweden and that’s why shopping at Bergdala was very high on my wishlist. Already before I bought some of these, I could get an idea how it feels to eat morning cereals in the bowls and pour milk from the carafes because Bergdala’s Wärdshus, where I stayed and had breakfast, has most of these as dishware.
The shop is rather small compared to the one at Kosta but this makes it easier to compare what you really want. At the end, I have decided to buy bowls, carafes and these cute milk bottles and milk cans. When I compared the prices I paid with the ones of a Swedish distributor, I was amazed of how much I saved! And in addition to buy directly in an outlet, I got 10% off with the glass pass! I am well aware that the prices seem high, but this became understandable I watched how these things are made in the glass factory next door.
More photos of their work in my Bergdala albums.
Drive east from Växjö, road 32. After the village of Hovmantorp, look for the brown sign that says “Bergdala Glasbruk” and turn north (left). Follow the road for approx. 5 km and then turn left (west) at the next sign. It is directly on the right side of the road.
Location of Bergdala Glassworks on Google Maps
What to pay: Prices for comparison (Bergdala prices with 10% additional glass pass discount):
Bowls, diametre 15 cm: 200 SEK at Bergdala, 325 SEK at the distributor,
Milk can, 12 cm height: 373 SEK at Bergdala, 625 SEK at the distributor,
Carafe, 1 litre: 328 SEK at Bergdala, 525 SEK at the ditributor.
Look at the prices of Bergdala’s distributorLM-Karlsson, left navigation menu “Bergdala” and then “Blå kant serien”.
Now add the prices for an international overseas ditributor and you know that it is a lot you save when buying directly at Bergdala. I will be back……
I am so grateful to Klas Nystrand of Bergdala’s Wärdshus (my accommodation) for having suggested that I should visit this glass workers! He said that they have the best of all glass work. And in my opinion they have indeed. In the meantime, I have regained a bit of knowledge about the chemical-physical background of glassblowing, that’s why I claim to be a bit in a position to judge. But for Transjö Hytta it is more than only their work, it is also the surrounding. They are located off the main road, accessible only by a small unpaved road, a river and lake next to them, surrounded by birch trees – something like a paradise! Unfortunately, they were not working (but start again in September) but this tip is about the shopping possibilities. You can buy work made by the masters Jan-Erik Ritzman or Sven-Åke Carlsson or by one of their students. As far as I could see and judge, the prices of the students’ work is equal compared to the ones of the masters, which seems good. And the students are really excellent as well. It was difficult decide which object I liked best. Given the prices, I wasn’t sure first if buying would maybe ruin me, but then I saw this vase and completely forgot about prices.. It is the vase “Konfekt” in yellow, something like love at the first sight. I loved the way, the traditional Venetian/Murano technique of millefiori was combined with a polkagris type of technique and the very vivid colours. Other really interesting glass objects were paperweights of different size and style, masks (sorry, no photo, because I don’t want to put them into trouble and see their special work being copied in dragonland…). I especially liked the ”Marina” series. It is fascinating to think about how they get the fish into the glass. I found out how they do it for some of the objects, but the majority of the work is still a mystery to me. Which is good, because that’s part of their secret and the fascination for us customers to admire the work.
Ok, prices. As I already mentioned, they are not cheap. It is a lot of work and a lot of experimenting with the techniques, the fish for example. As far as I could see, no object was less than 1000 SEK. But it is well worth the money, because it is unique art work. And I am sure that once I watch how they work, I would even more appreciate their art, more than I already do by only visiting their shop.
More photos of their work in my Transjö album.
Transjö Hytta is located east of Växjo and south of Kosta Hytta. From Växjö, drive road 25 eastward until the village of Eriksmala. Turn north (left) here at the roundabout and watch the sign “Transjö”. It is on the right side of the road, approx. 1 km off the road.
Location of Transjö Glassworks on Google Maps
What to pay: Currency converter
Saturday morning often means market and so too does certain market days throughout the year such as St Sigfrid Day. You find it at Stortorget where the County Mayor's residence is.
What to buy: Here you can by elk skin hats, local bread and cheese, wooden toys, fish, elk souvenirs, socks and gloves and whatever else you might need from the surrounding countryside entrepreneurs Don't forget the donuts which you can smell halfway down Storgatan :-)