Svend Holst-Pedersen began working with glass somewhat late in life, so he was over 40 by the time he started out as an art-craft worker. Like many others, he was fascinated by glass and the possibilities it affords when the first glass workshops sprouted up on Bornholm in the 1970s.
“I got my eyebrows and fringe singed and acquired a healthy respect for this hot tool when I started trying my hand at Charlie Meaker’s in what was then the Snogebæk Glashytte in the early 1990s,” Svend Holst-Pedersen says, continuing: “After graduating from The Glass and Ceramics School on Bornholm as a glass designer in 2000, I set about establishing my own workshop.”
In October 2000, Svend Holst-Pedersen moved into the former railway station building at Rø with his family and in March 2002 they opened a glassworks with an adjoining gallery.
“At an early stage of my training, I became very interested in the rustic appearance and texture that forms on the surface of glass cast in sand moulds. This technique is very suitable for sculptural pieces. To cut a long story short, you basically fill a metal box with casting sand and moisten it slightly. You make the shape in the sand and decorate it with colours and metals, for example. Then you get liquid glass from the furnace at 1,240˚C in a big casting ladle. You pour it into the sand mould and once the annealing process is finished, you can continue working on the glass. For instance, I often polish part of the surface to bring out a contrast in the finished item. You can see the contrast between the rough and shiny surfaces on my masks, for example, where the eyes and mouth gleam.”
He finds his inspiration for his sand-cast items from the rocky coast of Bornholm and the shiny surface of the water, or from a smooth stone that has acquired a sheen, having been exposed to the pounding surf and the elements for many years.
Svend Holst-Pedersen mostly makes unique items, but he also produces dishes using glass rods that he has made himself, melting them down to form a hollow shape, as well as holders for decorative lights, simply-decorated eggs and many other items, all of which are on display and for sale at the gallery in Rø.