Yes, very bad news. This is what was circulated by CGS on 23rd Jan:
"Åfors glasbruk is the base of four of the most well-known glass artists in Sweden ˆ Bertil Vallien, and Ulrica Hydman-Vallien, and two younger artists, Ludvig Löfgren and Åsa Jungnelius. During the last five years or so Orrefors Kosta-Boda, the group which includes Åfors , has shrunk dramatically, closing Boda glasbruk, stopping cutting and engraving in Orrefors, selling the archives and historical collections of the Kosta, Boda, Orrefors, Åfors and Johansfors glass works and concentrating on more commercially-oriented activities in Kosta. During this period Åfors has continued to thrive, certainly in an artistic sense, producing art glass rather than service items and serving as a major tourist attraction for those interested in the work of the Valliens and their partners. It has therefore been a shock to hear that it is now proposed to shut the hot shop in Åfors, with the loss of 35 jobs (out of about 50). The only parts of the glass works to survive in the plan announced by the New Wave group, the owners of Orrefors Kosta-Boda, will be the painting studio and the shop.
Not surprisingly, the proposed closure has generated a spirited response form the local community, including the formation of a support group ˆ Åforsgruppen. The group is investigating the possibility of either buying or leasing the glass works and using it as a centre for both unique art glass and pieces which in Swedish are described as Folkglaset - „people's glass? - and for more experimental work. The aim would be to build on the Åfors reputation for innovation, producing glass which is not available elsewhere ˆ a common complaint of visitors to Glasriket ˆ the Kingdom of Glass, as this part of Sweden describes itself - is that virtually all the glass on display in the Orrefors Kosta-Boda locations is commonly available elsewhere and that there is little to distinguish the work produced in one glass works from that produced in the others.
It is very early days in what is likely to be a long battle. The CEO of the New Wave group, Torsten Jansson, has indicated that the group might be prepared to sell Åfors ˆ for a high price - and may also be prepared to consider leasing it He says that „Nobody would be happier than I if the glassworks in Åfors could live on‰, but notes that with losses in the Orrefors Kosta-Boda group amounting to c.£25 million last year, economies are essential. In a reply to a letter from the Åforsgruppen, he notes out that if each of the 300 people who attended the first meeting called to discuss the closure, were to contribute £10,000, then the group would have starting capital of £3 million. This is clearly unrealistic but does, perhaps, indicate what sort of funding may be required ."