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Tête-à-tête with blown glass

It’s Diwali in less than two weeks and the project I have undertaken, well, the one I take on every year around this timeabout giving my home a new look is on and getting busier as I write. When it comes to shopping, I am mostly an impulsive buyer; well on most days, anyway. However, when it comes to shopping for the soul of my home, I am not; I follow a rule, a sequence, which is: I breathe, I think, I let the ‘piece in question’ talk and buy only and only if I do get the ‘right signs’.  Do you do this as well?

I learnt this technique in my previous life, well, when I worked for an interior design outfit in New Delhi, eons ago, and that is where I witnessed some spectacular furniture design using glass and some gorgeous homes with awe-inspiring glass installations. Intrigued, I took the library route to learn more about glass and figure out what exactly was it that I had seen. I so wish Google image search was common back then…well, even basic google search wasn’t that popular that long back :). I was fortunate to meet a stained glass artist and learnt about how glass is sourced, cut and then leaded together. Somehow, this didn’t seem enough. After a long hiatus in this search for ‘more on glass’ I found something called blown glass and I was blown away! In fact, my first reaction was that I should quit my job, travel to Europe and learn more about this art. However, life got in the way and I didn’t do the travelling, instead went on to do something diametrically different…

This post is however about ‘Glass’ and this is what I am going to be talking or rather writing about, instead of getting distracted! We all use ‘glass’ on a daily basis but I must ask you to pause and reflect on the definition of ‘glass’, which is: An inorganic product of fusion which has been cooled through its transition into the solid state without crystallising! Well, now that I feel better after stating what ‘glass’ really is, we can go on to talk about some trivia.

Did you know that the term glass was coined during the Roman Empire several centuries ago? It is generally believed that the first manufactured glass was in the form of a glaze on ceramic vessels, around 3000 B.C. At the early stages, glassmaking was a slow and expensive process, and then the blowpipe was invented in 30 B.C., making glass production easier, faster, and cheaper. Glassblowing is a glass forming technique that involves inflating the molten glass into a bubble or parson, with the aid of the blowpipe or a blow tube. I am in love with the free-blown glass technique; you would be too, once you experienced it. I must share this amazing video about this technique with you, right here:

I visited Bath in England a few years back and witnessed some remarkable work on glass. I am still in awe of the medium and while I have not been able to attend a workshop on glass techniques in Europe yet, my desire to learn the art of creating magic with glass has got me to acquaint myself with the wonderful work of some Indian glass artists. Without any further blabbering, I present to you some very talented people, who have created and continue to create magical pieces with glass. So, read away:

Srila Mookherjee 

India’s first studio glass blower, Srila Mookherjee was trained at the NID in ceramics and then went to Pentik (tableware makers) as an apprentice. After a few months in the Finnish Lapland she moved to London where she first picked up the art of glass blowing under the tutelage of Anthony Stern and then at the Glasshouse. She came back to India, sourced all her equipment indigenously, started her studio in Kolkata and continues to create magic with molten glass. She is known to innovate with glass – be it sandblasting, block printing or even using it with bamboo. One look at her creations and you are sure to be spell-bound. Follow her on facebook and get to know of her collections, collaborations and events.

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The colours, the swirls in glass…created by Srila Mookherjee

The magic of blown glass with colours in varied hues created by Srila Mookherjee

The magic of blown glass with colours in varied hues created by Srila Mookherjee

Platters, trays, vases and more...created by Srila Mookherjee

Platters, trays, vases and more…created by Srila Mookherjee; all images via

 

Atul Bakshi

Atul Bakshi is an Indian glass artist who has been working with this medium for over 20 years. He is known for his work on stained glass, cast and blown glass. To quote from his website, he believes that working with glass has a zen like quality as deliberation and thought do not create art: a magical moment of spiritual intensity are frozen in glass in a flurry of flying hands and then, something has been said. His work and installations can be seen across several offices, hotels and school chapels.

His studio is located at Vasant Kunj in New Delhi. You could perhaps follow him on facebook here.

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School of fish – a signature Atul Bakshi Cast glass and steel work

Atul Bakshi installation in Sweden

Atul Bakshi glass installation in Sweden

Stained Glass by Atul Bakshi - as colourful as colourful can be

Stained Glass by Atul Bakshi – as colourful as colourful can be 

(all images via)

Reshmi Dey of Glass Sutra

Reshmi Dey is an artist entrepreneur of glass who started her journey in 1999 and has evolved from doing basic tableware into a creator of hand-made glass installations and wall sculptures. Her inspirational journey started with the glass town of Firozabad after which she travelled to the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic learning this fine art from leading Czech and Italian artists. Her work can be seen at leading hotels and offices in India. While her love for the craft is immense, she wants to be a social entrepreneur and has been working with ILO and the ministry of labour as an external consultant to help them develop a module for training young crafters and develop work clusters so that these trained workers have the opportunity to pursue a better livelihood.

Reshmi’s studio is based out of Sultanpur (near Chattarpur) in New Delhi. Connect with her through facebook here.

Reshmi Dey creates a magical installation in glass

Reshmi Dey: Creating magical installations in glass

The Suzlon Sustainability wall - magnificence by Reshmi Dey

The Suzlon Sustainability wall – magnificence by Reshmi Dey

Juxtaposition of colours! an inspiration wall

Juxtaposition of colours! an inspiration wall by Reshmi Dey

Nandini of Studio Glasshopper

This Goa-based studio was started by Nandini Dutta in 2000, and was focussing primarily on stained glass lamps before moving on to glass panels and then offering hot glass products. With a philosophy of simple and minimalist design, the studio creates panels, cast and blown glass products that aren’t heavily embellished or overly complicated but incredible all the same! Connect with them on facebook here.

Blown away with blown glass

Blown away with blown glass

Stunning piece of blown glass

Stunning piece of blown glass

Vases...and more vases

Vases…and more vases

(all images via)

I am enamoured by these lovely creations and I am sure that there is a piece out there, just perfect for my home, which will come back home with me one day; maybe another time, if not this Diwali. I am off to look for more such pieces for my home.  Care to join me?

XO, Nupur

Cover image: via 1, 2, 3, 4