Cymru Culture

Articles / Erthyglau

Modern Accessories verses Retro-Chic

(March 31, 2010)
Home accessories remain a popular choice for people wishing to transform an interior, for relatively little cost. This throw-away chic has been exploited by high-street retailers such as Dunelm and Next. The Designers at Debenhams range took this a step further with a selection of well-known designers lending their name and creative influences to items as diverse as bed linens to cushions.
One of the quickest ways to change the focal point of a room is to add some glass vases. Looking around any major department store you will see a huge collection of them available.
Many designs make use of trapped bubbles, graduated colours and encased glass finishes. You would think they were modern finishes, or influences. Well, not so ...

For example, many may think that the current trend for brightly coloured glass vases with white inners is a new craze. However, the technique began in the  late 1960s when the venerated art glass designers Per Lutken and Michael Bang, both designers at Holmegaard Glass, Copenhagen, cased coloured glass over opaque white glass. And other, modern looking designs date from even earlier.
Holmegaard 2
Holmegaard glass vase from the "Pallet" range
Michael Bang, 1968

Another art glass manufacturer to use white inners was the Swedish glass company, Alsterfors. The use of opaque white inners, contrasting with the vivid primary colours used on the outside of their pieces, led to their designs becoming iconic.
The pieces below were designed for Alsterfors by P.O. Strom, in the late 1960s.

Alsterfors Vase 1
Alsterfors glass vase in red-orange cased over opaque white
P.O. Strom, late 1960s

Alsterfors Vase 2 
Alsterfors glass vase in red-orange cased over opaque white
P.O. Strom, late 1960s
Another method of art glass decoration in common use was the 'pinstripe' technique. This is used to stunning effect on the vase created by Sea Glasbruk, of Kosta, Sweden, circa 1960 (shown below).

  Sea Glasbruk
 Sea Glasbruk "pinstripe" glass vase
circa 1960

Another design currently available is the 'cased' vase,
originally made popular by Gunnar Nylund, art glass designerat the  Swedish glassworks Strombergshyttan. The example below is from a range of vases  designed in the late 1950's, which wouldn't seem out of place on a coffee table today.

Stromberg Vase Grey
Strombergshyttan vase in grey, cased in clear crystal
Gunnar Nylund, circa 1957
Here is another example of a cased vase, this time from the British art-glass design company Whitefriars, in their vivid Ruby colourway.
Whitefriars Ruby Teardrop Medium
Whitefriars oval, tapering vase in ruby, cased in clear crystal
pattern 9572, Geoffery Baxter,

Cased vase techniques were used by art glass designers throughout Scandinavia. One of the most innovative and respected was Saara Hopea.

The two images below of a Saara Hopea art glass vase, created while she was designer and assistant to Kaj Franck at Nuutajärvi, Finland, between 1952 and 1959, show how the 'cased' method of producing glass vases can produce quite complex designs.

Saara Hopea Vase
Nuutajärvi cased glass vase
Saara Hopea, circa 1954
Saara Hopea Vase 2
 Nuutajärvi cased glass vase (detail)
Saara Hopea, circa 1954
Another stunning example is the pewter bowl designed at the Orrefors glass works in the 1930s. Again, similar modern examples can be found on the high-street today.
Orrefors Vase
Orrefors optic rib bowl, circa 1930

These examples range from £25 to £150 and may commonly be found on on-line auction sites and antique dealers such as at the 'Pump House', Cardiff.

With the original versions maintaining their value, and often being considerably cheaper than the modern day versions, why not treat yourself to a bit of retro chic, rather than buy something on sale in the hundreds, if not thousands.


If you liked this, you'll also like:
     Vintage-inspired gifts; December 2014

     Handmade cards; December 2014
     Stylishly wrapped presents; December 2014
     Handmade gift tags; December 2014
     Personalised Christmas decorations; December 2013

     Accessorize your home this Christmas; December 2011
     Shades of Grey; Caregos Couture new collection; September 2011
     History of costume Jewellery; September 2010
     Statement pieces from Caregos Couture, September 2010
     Easter/Spring party gift and decoration ideas; March 2010
     New Art Gallery in Cardiff 'Off the Wall'; Septermber 2009
     Statement necklaces; September 2009
     Stylish party canapés, September 2009
     George Thomas Hospice 'Style In the City' event; May 2009
     Whitefriars Glass, March 2009

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