Skip to main content

You are here

  • May 18, 2013

Pull, Twist, Blow-Transforming the Kingdom of Crystal Opens June 15

ASI’s New Exhibit Seeks to Shatter Conventional Expectations and Limits of Glass Art in Unexpected Ways

MINNEAPOLIS-A forest, battle bots, dentures all made from glass, will make their US debut at the American Swedish Institute (ASI)’s new cutting edge exhibit, Pull Twist Blow-Transforming the Kingdom of Crystal. Presented inpartnership with The Glass Factory of Sweden, Pull, Twist, Blowruns June 15 through October 13, 2013.

Testing the boundaries of glass as art form, Pull, Twist, Blow explores the evolution of glass-making in Sweden’s famed southeastern Smaland district, known as the “Kingdom of Crystal.” The region once famous for techniques and patterns established by famed glass houses is now inspiring glass artists to apply individualized and transformational approaches to the craft by scrapping traditional forms of bowls and vases for more provocative and expressive pieces including dentures, suitcases, intricate weaving designs, and even a glass forest.

Pull, Twist, Blow showcases innovative pieces by eleven Swedish artists:  Fredrik Nielsen (morphed pitchers), Åsa Jungnelius, Simon Klenell, Helena Kågebrand (pickled tongues and glass dentures), Peter Hermansson (Graal objects), Karl-Magnus Nilsson (lost-wax castings), Charles Stern, Matilda Kästel, Ingalena Klenell (“Homeland,” a glass forest) , Ludvig Löfgren and Annika Jarring (combs and suitcase). Each work will be presented side by side with more traditional glasswork from The Glass Factory’s extensive collection that served as a reference point for the modern creations.  

“Homeland,” Ingalena Klenell’s Glass Forest, Will Make International Debut At ASI

Swedish artist Ingalena Klenell’s “Glimmering Gone” glass forest wowed audiences in the Pacific Northwest in 2010. Klenell’s latest piece in the series, “Homeland” will make its international debut at the American Swedish Institute’s Osher Gallery as part of the Pull, Twist, Blow-Transforming the Kingdom of Crystal exhibit opening June 15th, 2013.  Homeland asks visitors to ponder the relationship between landscape and memory and how those two elements coincide to create a feeling of home.  

Visiting Artists

Artists Ingalena Klenell, Charles Stern and Fredrik Nielsen will travel from Sweden to Minneapolis to participate over the course of installation and exhibition of Pull, Twist, Blow.

Charlie Stern : Stern visits ASI to install his piece, World of No Craft (2011), an Artistic Development Project Konstnärligt Utvecklingsarbete (KU) made for Konstfack during 2011.  Working with gaming technology and the development of the Microsoft Kinekt camera as a model for craft industries, the project resulted in an interactive exhibit that will debut in North America during the run of this exhibition.   

Ingalena Klenell : Klenell’s work explores the ideas of fragility and vulnerability, both in the material of glass and in life itself. Klenell sees glass as a way of investigating the limits of techniques and of her own skill and creativity, and of creating ways to transcend those limits. She uses several different techniques to create primarily sculptural works. In 2010, she collaborated with artist Beth Lipman to create the installation, Glimmering Gone, at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA. The installation used landscape and artifacts to investigate our connection with nature and memory.

Klenell will visit ASI to install Homeland attend the exhibition opening of Pull, Twist, Blow held on June 15th in conjunction with ASI’s Midsommar Celebration and present “Landscape & Memory,” a talk on Homeland.

Fredrik Nielsen : Known for his ability to captivate audiences through his glass blowing process, Nielsen will give two glass blowing demonstrations at ASI in July: Cocktails at the Castle: Hot Shop Herring Glass Blow Out (July 25, 7-11pm) and ASI’s Family Afternoon (July 27).

Key Events

ASI seeks to engage the community with the medium of glass through five not to be missed events outside the traditional exhibit halls.


“Empty Time” at Northern Spark – June 8 (9pm-5:26am, Union Depot, St. Paul)

ASI’s Artist in Residence Pritika Chowdhry will create a new, immersive experience for Spark attendees to engage glass through sound, all inspired by ASI’s historic glass collection. The work will be reinstalled in ASI’s Benson Gallery as part of the run of the exhibition. 


Pull, Twist, Blow Opening and ASI Midsommar Celebration – June 15 (10am-5pm)

The exhibition opening coincides with ASI’s annual family-friendly Midsommar Celebration.  FOCI – The Minnesota Center for Glass Arts will offer on-site glass blowing demonstrations for adults and children alike.  Artist Ingalena Klenell will present “Landscape & Memory,” a talk on Homeland, her glass forest installation in the exhibition.  


Cocktails At The Castle: Hot Shop Herring Glass Blow Out – July 25 (7-11pm)

ASI’s popular Cocktails at the Castle series returns with a  contemporary Minnesota spin on a traditional Swedish hyttsill at which guests are invited to share a meal prepared in an annealer (the oven in which finished glass pieces are cooled), listen to live music, and enjoy a glass-blowing demonstration.  The evening features live local music, glass blowing demonstrations by artist Fredrik Neilsen, street food by FIKA and many surprises.

Pull, Twist, Blow – Family Afternoon – July 27

Families are invited to play, explore and create while learning the science and art of glass. Get up close and ask questions during glass blowing demonstrations with artist Fredrik Nielsen. Drop in the Studio Classroom to create a one-of-a-kind glass slöjd. Explore the exhibit to find special battle bots and pretend you are working in a glass factory.

Fall ASI Forum – October 9

Presented in partnership with the American Craft Council.  The ASI Fall Forum will explore how a wide variety of industries are and have reinvented themselves, respond to innovation and cultivate new approaches to design and practice, tradition and innovation.  Details forthcoming.

Project Partners and Sponsors

The American Swedish Institute is proud to partner with the following organizations to present Pull, Twist, Blow-Transforming the Kingdom of Crystal:

The Glass Factory (Sweden); Foci Minnesota Center for Glass Art (Minneapolis); The American Craft Council (Minneapolis)

Support for the Osher gallery comes from the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation.

Support for this exhibit and related program comes from the Anne Ray Charitable Trust and the Swedish Council of America.

This activity is made possible in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature from the State's general fund and its arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008 and a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation Minnesota.

The American Swedish Institute (ASI) is a vibrant arts and culture organization and historic home located at 2600 Park Avenue near downtown Minneapolis. ASI attracts more than 65,000 people each year for tours of the landmark 1908 Turnblad Mansion, exhibits, classes and events that connect the community to contemporary Nordic culture and cultural heritage. Founded in 1929 by Swedish immigrant newspaper publisher Swan J. Turnblad, ASI now serves as a gathering place for people to share stories and experiences around universal themes of tradition, migration, craft and the arts, all informed by enduring ties to Sweden. For more information, visit


share this