Tobias Sode: The journey of Glød Glas Studio


Tobias Sode: The journey of Glød Glas Studio

Tobias Sode: The journey of Glød Glas Studio

In the heart of the picturesque Bornholm lies Glød Glas Studio, a new addition to the island's rich artistic heritage. We've had the pleasure of visiting the glassblowing studio and meeting the couple behind it, Tobias Sode and Lene Dahl Jacobsen.

The interview takes place in Glød Glas Studio's inspiring surroundings, where Tobias shares his thoughts and experiences with us. We gain insight into his journey from Svaneke to Kosta, where his fascination with glass led him to a world of craftsmanship that would become a lifelong passion.

MMG: Hi Tobias. Thank you for inviting us into your glassblowing studio. It's absolutely stunning here. When did you open the studio?

TS: Hi. Thank you, we're also very happy to finally be here. It has become just as we dreamed. We live right next door and we have renovated the premises ourselves. Two months ago (July 2023) we could finally open the doors to Glød Glas Studio, so it's brand new.

MMG: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

TS: My name is Tobias Sode, and I grew up in Svaneke, where I also spent my teenage years. I wasn't particularly good in primary school. I couldn't read or write very well, so it quickly dawned on me that I shouldn't be a lawyer. In seventh grade, I ended up in this mandatory internship, where I ended up with a goldsmith. At this point, I was convinced that my future was in making jewellery, but after sitting on my haunches for 14 days in a small box trying to make jewellery, I found out that it was too sedentary for me. I became restless.

Fortunately, those two weeks weren't entirely wasted. Working with the goldsmith opened the door to a world of craftsmanship and art.

TS: I attended a boarding school in 10th grade, and that's when they started asking me what I wanted to be. I was sure that I wanted to do something with my hands, and they immediately thought I should be a carpenter. It wasn't quite the same thoughts I had. The internship with the goldsmith sparked my interest in craftsmanship and art, but I didn't know what it would be yet.

MMG: How did you come up with the idea of glassblowing then?

TS: My father has always been interested in glass, and he still is. He knows all sorts of things about old glass and the history of glass art. His passion sparked an interest in me. So, one day I called him and said I wanted to try glassblowing. He seemed a bit hesitant, but at this point, I was completely sure. At the very least, I was sure I didn't want to be a goldsmith. So, my father put me in touch with a glassblower in Bornholm, where I could try it. My father and I were heading to Sweden, where I ended up being admitted to a school that offered just that.

Tobias was admitted to Glasskolan in Kosta at the age of 17. A year earlier than he was supposed to if it were according to the rules. The school changed Tobias' life.

TS: Even though I wasn't old enough yet, I got into the school. For some reason, they took pity on me. A year later, Lene started at the school, and we quickly became a couple. That's where the dream began. One day, we would have our own glassblowing workshop. And here we are. Many years later, but here we are.

MMG: Has Bornholm always been a part of the dream?

TS: Actually, it hasn't. At least it wasn't back then. Lene came from Norway, we studied in Sweden - and after graduation, we travelled all over the world to blow glass. Circumstances - especially house prices - led us to Bornholm. But today, we can't see ourselves anywhere else. We have our family here, there's a very special creative community on the island, and we live out our dream here.

MMG: Can you tell us more about the artistic journey you've been on together?

TS: When I was 6 years old, my father took me to Venice for the first time. It was pure glass heaven, and the whole environment with families who had been glassblowers for generations has always fascinated me. Imagine walking on the small sidewalks along the canals. You look out at the water, at the buildings, but you have no idea what's behind them. You think it's a small house, but the house continues so far that it's impossible to understand. Behind it, you will find a room with glass blowing, a room with grinding, one with packaging, and so on.

Tobias and Lene have always been characterized by a constant striving to refine and develop their craftsmanship. It is especially the trips to Italy and the Italian craftsmanship traditions that have inspired them to their own works.

TS: Our artistic journey has been characterized by a constant striving to refine and develop our craftsmanship. Inspired by Italian techniques and especially the traditions of Murano glass, we have worked to create a unique expression that combines simplicity with complexity. We also try to incorporate nature and the local area into our designs, giving it a special resonance. For some of our vases, for example, we have sand in the bottom, which is sand from Balka (Balka Beach on Bornholm). So, you get a little bit of the local area with you when you buy one.

MMG: It is clear to see that you have found your own style in your glass art. How do you make vases?

TS: First, we start by pulling a thin rod of coloured glass. We then break this rod into many smaller rods. These small rods are laid on a plate, in a pattern, which ultimately gives the pattern on the vase. It's hard to explain without showing it. So, it's something you must see to understand.Tobias and Lene start pulling a thin rod to show the process. Everything goes very quickly, and it's hard not to get in the way while trying to capture it all on camera. Tobias and Lene, on the other hand, don't get in each other's way. It's clear to see that they know exactly what the next step looks like, and how they each work and think.

TS: There are many processes involved in making a vase, and it takes a long time to make one. Often, we pull rods for several days to get raw materials to make vases. You are often a team of two or more, where good cooperation is essential for it all to come together. You know each other's movements in the workshop and how the different work processes are. Lene and I have been together for many years and have worked together in several of them, which is a huge plus now that we have started our own glassblowing workshop.

MMG: You are deeply rooted in Bornholm's art community. What does it mean to you to be involved in carrying on the tradition of craftsmanship?

TS: We haven't always been good on Bornholm at telling what we can do and how big the creative environment is over here. It's incredible how many artisans there are in Bornholm, and they come from all sorts of creative environments. Both designers, artists, artisans, and craftsmen. Fortunately, there are a lot of new initiatives, and the marketing has become much stronger, so we have become much better at telling our story.

In 2017, Bornholm was named the first place in Europe and the first island community in the world to be designated as a World Craft Region. The title is awarded to cities that excel in their craftsmanship. It's something we can be extremely proud of.

MMG: Finally, do you have any advice for others involved in craftsmanship?

TS: Follow your passion, keep exploring the boundaries of art, and always keep your eyes on the future.

If you want to learn more about Glød Glas Studio, you can visit the glassblowing studio here:

Glød Glas studio

Boulevarden 1
3730 Nexø