FOLKDAYS Nº 97
Hidden in a courtyard in Wedding, Berlin’s somewhat forgotten neighbourhood, one can find the studio of glassblower Jesper Jensen. The native Dane has been living in Berlin for over five years and is giving glassblowing a new twist with his unique technique of reducing the energy consumption of his craft. Having never really given much thought to glassblowing and how much energy this art uses, I hopped on my bike and stop by Jesper’s studio to quiz him about his work.
My first glimpse of Jesper’s studio, situated on the second floor in a maze of courtyards, is that of huge plants and Jesper himself, leaning out of the window, having a cigarette. Once I’d made my way up the huge staircase and received a warm welcome, we get down to business.
Who are you?
I’m Jesper Jensen, a Berlin-based sustainable glassblower.
What are you up to here and what made you start?
I’m a fully trained glassblower. For my exam project at university, I tried to find a way of working with hot glass using very little resources. And that’s basically what I based this company on – the research and the things I learned from that. We make design products out of old wine bottles. My guys and I cycle around the backyards and alleys of Berlin to source bottles, which we then cut and shape into our products. We’re reusing trash – the end product is refined, but it’s all found on the street. I guess you could say that I’m trying to make nice products out of trash that other people throw out.
Has your work with sustainable glassblowing changed any of the choices you make in your personal life?
I’ve always been very aware of how much energy glassblowing costs. The whole reason I got into this project was because glassblowing with the actual liquid glass is both crazy expensive to run and very bad for the environment. It consumes a huge amount of resources, constantly, and you cannot ever turn it off – you only turn it off when you have to fix it. When I started up my own studio, I was really aware of my electricity bills, so I always try to not use very much energy in all other aspects of my personal life. All the lightbulbs in here are LEDs and use very little energy, I never fly unless I have to, I recycle like a motherfucker – I try to do my best, where I can. In my studio, I use energy the equivalent of four German households. That might sound like a lot, but for a glass studio that’s actually not very much.
How do you imagine the ideal world?
I’d like people to start recycling and reusing more. That would be great – even if it means I don’t have glass bottles to work with anymore. I’d just find something else.
Any last words?
No, not really.
Interview and images by Lilly Wolf
More information on www.jesper-jensen.com