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Strong and sensitive. Re-cover studies the limits of Finnish glass. Interview with Saara Renvall.

Saara Renvall, Tell a bit about your newest project? what inspired you to make it?

Re-cover is a collection of glass objects that are placed within or  
hanging from one another. Each piece consists of an element that  
serves as a socket or a pod to other elements attached to it. Contrary  
to the conventional glass design, the joints are purely mechanical  
with a strong visual identity. The aim is to join sensitive and  
fragile material – glass – using standard hardware store items. The  
glass elements are hand blown with traditional methods, whereas the  
joints are made of threaded brass rods, bolts and rubber washers.

I  had the initial idea for Re-cover more than 10 years ago. Saara Renvall

For a while, I have wanted to work with glass. The process of blowing  
glass is really fascinating, and the material itself is strong and  
sensitive, and very different to the materials I usually work with. I  
had the initial idea for Re-cover more than 10 years ago, and I  
thought about it every now and then. It took me a while to make it to  
the glass blowing studio and start playing with the concept.

Re-cover started as a study of nesting forms. I wanted to create two  
elements that would be laying within each other. I basically started  
to explore and idea where one element would contain other forms.

Finnish glass design and artefacts are known through the classics 
like the Aalto vase, Mariskooli bowls, Toikka’s birds and Kivi-  
tealight holders. Very practical and obviously also made some time  
ago. How do you find the future of Finnish glass? Could Re-Cover  
change how we see Finnish glass design since it’s an elegant project  
but at the same time there is an edgy roughness in its materials?

The history of Finnish glass design is rich, for sure. I hope my  
project will be part of continuing the tradition, possibly creating  
new openings and discussion around glass.

I guess it comes 
natural to me to test methods that are somewhat unorthodox. Saara Renvall

As my background is outside of the glass industry, I guess it comes  
natural to me to test methods that are somewhat unorthodox. In this  
case, the new thinking is in making visible something that is normally  
hidden (the joint).

I totally fell in love with the process and methods of blowing glass.  
In fact, the whole process is so capturing and enchanting that I find  
it hard to create artworks that are more interesting than the process  

How was it like to work with the glass blowers in Nuutajärvi? and 
did the end result execute the way you foresaw it?

Working with glassblowers Manuel Diemer and Alge Julija was just great  
and very humbling. Normally, I control the process myself and do most  
things with my own hands. This time, I was basically a bystander and  
an audience. I learned so much just watching the artisans at work.

I had two session in Nuutajärvi: first we produced the prototypes and  
then the final pieces. The project kept changing throughout the  
process. Once I started to understand how things work and got to feel  
and touch the prototypes, everything started to evolve: colors  
combinations, forms, masses, thicknesses of materials and the  
combination of everything.

At the moment your works are on show in Galerie l’elac in 
Switzerland. Where  would you love to see your works shown next?

The exhibition in Galerie l’elac, called U-JOINTS, investigates  
products through their joints. I am happy to be part of it and have my  
work presented next to great designs and designers from around the  

It would be lovely to introduce the whole collection of Re-cover in an  
art gallery or other contemporary venue in Helsinki. My all-time  
favorite exhibition venue and a constant source of inspiration is the  
Finnish National Museum. Having my work presented there, in dialogue  
with the history, would be quite something.