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European Virtual Training Centre
for glass arts and techniques

Sweden Graal


Written and translated by Ole Victor

Graal is a Swedish decorating technique that allows detailed patterns and motives in colour to be applied to blown glass. One important characteristic is that the decoration is completely integrated in the glass as opposed to being applied only to the surface.

This technique is quite complicated, difficult and time consuming. It is conducted in three steps – blank, decoration and shaping. Graal needs a highly qualified master blower to perform several critical moments demanding talent and experience, e.g. the wrapping of overlay colours.

On the other hand it also allows non hot glass experiensed artists to apply their colour compositions to glass, with the help of a master blower. The decoration is applied in the cold second step, where the coloured blank surface is engraved, etched, cut or sandblasted to remove colour layers in the desired pattern. This step is time consuming but not time critical.

There are several varieties of Graal and some tricks and shortcuts to get an almost similar result. These are described in the documentation.

Graal as a decorating technique is closely related to Ariel, which was developed from the concepts of Graal, technically as well as culturally.

Credit for the invention of Graal is given to master blower Knut Bergqvist at Orrefors in 1916. The first to explore and artistically utilize the technique was the artist and designer, Simon Gate at Orrefors.