Hoglund Art Glass



Hoglund Art Glass: A family business

The Hoglund Glass story began well before Ola Hoglund and Marie Simberg-Hoglund arrived in Nelson.

With a tradition of craftmanship dating back to the 16th century, Sweden's glass blowing industry includes the renowned glassworks of Kosta Boda and Orrefors. Ola's father, Erik Hoglund, worked for the Boda Glassworks as a designer, where he revolutionised the art of glass in Sweden.1

Hoglund Art Glass 1998
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Ola and Marie in 1986
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Ola and Marie, who met at boarding school when they were 15, both worked at the Boda Glassworks before applying to the Orrefors Glass School where they broadened their skills and experience in glass blowing, cut crystal and engraving.2 

In 1978, after several years training and working in Sweden, the Hoglunds spent three years in Swaziland as part of a Swedish aid initiative, where they established a workshop and taught glass making skills.3

Seeking more adventures, Ola found a job with a glass blowing company in Hokitika. Art glass was not well established in New Zealand and, while Marie looked after their two young sons, Ola found himself making yard glasses and light shades.4

Three years later, they were offered an opportunity, by potter Jack Laird and his son Paul Laird, to set up a glass studio at Craft Habitat in Nelson. The studio was running by Christmas 1984 and they remained there for nine years.In the early days, short of money, they melted down old bottles and flagons and Ola made all the glass melting furnaces and equipment himself.6

Marie painting graal c.1996
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The Hoglunds moved to a new studio in Appleby in 1993 and the Hoglund Art Glass complex, including a gallery, glass blowing studio and café opened on the site in December 2002.7  Over the years many students, glassblowers and artists from all over the world have visited the complex to learn and share skills.8

The Hoglunds blowing glassOla, Ossie & Oliver  blowing glass together at Hoglund's Studio
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The Hoglunds' studio ware and art pieces retain the strong, simple lines of classical Scandanavian glassware, with the addition of vibrant colours and a Pacific feel.9  Their work includes the complex graal  technique, which originated in Sweden in the 1920s.10    

In 1999, Hoglund Art Glass was appointed as an official licensee to make America's Cup merchandise. They produced a range of Team New Zealand glassware for the 2000 and 2003 America's Cup.11  In 2000, the company won a licence to manufacture and sell official merchandise for the Sydney 2000 Olympics.  They were one of 400,000 applicants for the 72 coveted Olympic licences.12 

Ola working on graal c.1996
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Marie engraving 2002
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Hoglund Art Glass has been exhibited in international shows in Australia, Europe, Asia and the US and is held in public and private collections worldwide.  In 1999, U.S. president Bill Clinton, was televised shopping and buying glass at the Hoglund Glass shop in Parnell, Auckland in 1999.13

In 2003, then Prime Minister, Helen Clark, said the creative industries were playing an important role in creating employment and economic opportunities. Hoglund Glass was named as one of New Zealand's most successful international art businesses, employing between 35 and 42 people in Nelson, with stores in New Zealand and Australia and outlets in the U.S. Japan, Germany and the U.K.14

There was further growth and expansion. By 2004, there were Hoglund Art Glass galleries in Auckland, Wellington, Sydney and Melbourne, with a new gallery opened in Dubai at the beginning of 2004.  "Nelson is where we want to be but obviously the season here is very short and we need to produce and keep going all year round," Marie told the Nelson Mail at the time.15

Ola cutting edge 2002
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By the mid-2000s, with successful Hoglund Art Galleries all around the world and, about to sign a contract for a gallery on the prestigious Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, the Hoglunds changed gear.

"We realised it was going to be so successful in the U.S. that it would kill us. So we made a lifestyle decision to get back to what we love to do. Building the business was fun, but we like to make glass," said Marie.  She notes that consolidating the business prior to the global economic downturn was also a timely decision.16

New glassblowing studios and galleries were opened in Mumbai, India and North Queensland in 2007.17 Since 2002, Ola and Marie have worked at the Port Douglas studio between June and October each year. The Mumbai gallery became a general interior design store in 2011.18

Today, Hoglund Art Glass  is a family business with Ola, Marie, sons Oliver and Ossie and daughter-in-law Annie, all making glass in the Nelson and Queensland studios.  Their art glass continues to be sold worldwide through a network of galleries.19

Images courtesy of Hoglunds Art Glass, 2012


Edited February 2021

Sources used in this story

  1. Gibbs, P. (2000). Hoglund Art Glass. Craft Arts International, issue 50, 47-53.
  2. Gibbs
  3. Gibbs
  4. McLean, R. (2005, December 9). Living and breathing the art of glass. Dominion post, p.B7
  5. Gibbs
  6. McLean
  7. Neal, Tracy (2002, October 12) New exhibition space a glass act. Nelson Mail, p.1
  8. Gibbs
  9. Ninness, G. (1999, January 31) Art for the glassy-eyed. Sunday Star Times ,p.E5
  10. Gibbs
  11. Simburg-Hoglund, Marie, Personal communication 19/6/2012
  12. Sheeran, G. (2000). Gold medal for NZ glassware. Sunday Star Times, 1 October, E3.
  13. Gibbs
  14. Light, E. (2003) Money and the muse: art as a wealth creator. New Zealand Business.  12-17.
  15. Moriarty, A. (2004, January 7) Art glass market extends into Dubai , Nelson Mail, p.3
  16. Simburg-Hoglund
  17. Glass gallery closes at hotel (2007, November 1) Nelson Mail, p3
  18. Simburg-Hoglund
  19. Simburg-Hoglund

Want to find out more about the Hoglund Art Glass ? View Further Sources here.

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    I suggest you email TVNZ Breakfast programme: breakfast@tvnz.co.nz Give the date of programme Ed.

    Posted by jim marshall, 12/12/2015 7:45pm (9 years ago)

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Further sources - Hoglund Art Glass



  • Breathing life into glass (2011, January 1) North & South, 298, p 36
  • Clarke, A. (2005, April 12) Looking through the glass barrier. Nelson Mail, p7
  • De Garis, K. (2005, August 1) Celebrate. Belle, p 47
  • Gibbs, P. (1999, June 16). Glassblowers cut Cup deal. The Nelson Mail, 1.
  • Gibbs, P. (2000). Hoglund Art Glass. Craft Arts International, 50, 47-53.
  • Glass gallery closes at hotel (2007, November 1) Nelson Mail, p3
  • Head, W. (1999). Market intelligence report: Australia. Export news, 19 April, 5-10
  • Light, E. (2003). Money and the muse: art as a wealth creator. New Zealand Business. 17(2), 12-17.
  • Light, E. (2004). Portrait of the art scene. New Zealand Retail, Nov, 10-17.
  • Lyons, K. (2005). Relocating to New Zealand. Bright, 10, 26-29.
  • McLean, R. (2005). Living and breathing the art of glass. Dominion post, 9 Dec, B7. 
  • Melbourne outlet continues Hoglund's glass expansion (2001, August 1) Nelson Mail, p 18
  • Neal, T. (1999, September 13) Clinton buys Hoglund glassNeal, Nelson Mail, p.2
  • Neal, T. (1999, September 4). Furnace readied for first firing. The Nelson Mail, 32.
  • Neville, P. (1990, January 22). Glass art a tourist drawcard. New Zealand Woman's Weekly, 96.
  • O'Regan, S. (1997, August 18) Hoglunds fired up over massive order. Nelson Mail, p.1
  • Sheeran, G. (2000). Gold medal for NZ glassware. Sunday Star Times, 1 October, E3. 
  • Staffers made redundant at Hoglunds (2006, September 16) Nelson Mail, p3
  • Swain, P. (1997, September 20). Craft awaits its turn in the limelight. The Dominion Post, 30.
  • Warren, J. (1992). Glorious glass. Craft New Zealand, 41, 16-17.



  • Tapsell, S. & Verschaffelt, P. (Ed.). (1994). Made in New Zealand.  [Video recording]. Auckland, N.Z.: Communicado.

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