Boxberg Products in the International Village Shop
Boxberg, Oberlausitz, DE
August 2009

A new product from a village with industrial background

Antje Schiffers
Thomas Sprenger
Susanne Altmann
Johanna Gruner
Heinz Bittner
Enrico Miertsch

Über Tage

We were invited to develop a new product for the International Village Shop in Boxberg O.L. Boxberg is in eastern Germany, in a region called Oberlausitz. This region was famous for brown coal mining, and brown coal mining is still done there intensively. Brown coal was a landmark industry of the former GDR. Increasing energy prices brought brown coal to fashion again and the big energy providers are expanding their opencast mines. The landscape is made by brown coal mining, in the GDR the vast pits were recultivated with forest, nowadays they are turned into lakes and used for recreation. Boxberg is a rich village in a poor region because Boxberg has the brown-coal-fired power plant. It once was a VEB – a people’s enterprise, now it is owned by Vattenfall.

Opencast mining moves lots of soil and sand. Sand is also used in the glass industry. The Lausitz region has always been producing glass. They had several big Kombinate in GDR and were training craftsmen here. Dieter Tusche, the glassmaker who performed for us, was trained here. His workshop is in the neighbouring village of Boxberg.

We invited people from the local youth club, the Landfrauen dedicated to Sorbian handcraft, the Heimatverein Uhyst and the local secondary school to the product development. The mayor sent his representative, too. All agreed that they wanted a product linked to food and to the cooling towers of the power plant. There are old „Soviet style“ cooling towers and new ones. The old ones were considered to have a better form.

The Lausitz is known for Leinöl. Linseed oil can be used for furniture polish and painting, but it also can be delicious with potatoes and Quark (curd cheese) or to fry Quarkkeulchen. It is very very healthy. It is important to eat it within some months and store it in a dark and cool place. In the butchery in Boxberg, you can buy Leinöl from a canister if you bring some jar.

The idea was to develop a cooling tower shaped jar for the Linseed oil. Dieter Tusche used white emaille during the glassblowing process to make the jar less transparent. Linseed oil, considered quite a cheap food as it is mostly used for very simple dishes and comes from a poor background, could thereby be upgraded and become more chic.

Parcels were packed in the Lake District, in Friesland and in Frankonia, international village produce was sent to Boxberg. On August 15 we presented the Leinölkühlturm together with Wjelsrip horsemillk soap, Loughborough balls and Höfen butterspoons in a One-Hour-Village-Shop at the meadows by the river Schöps.

To watch the Boxberg Product Film online go to Ueber-Tage. To watch other Village Product Films online klick here or see the promotion trailer here.

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