I specialise in kiln-formed glass, using both fusing and slumping techniques to create vessels and objects that enrich homes and spaces whilst inviting the viewer to think about the world differently. The starting point of my work is words: fragments of text or short poems which form the objects or are embedded within them.
What craft do you work with?
I began working with glass in late 2017 after doing a weekend workshop in copper-foil stained glass. I developed my work and style through trial and error, creating my own designs and selling them at local events, but wanted to learn new skills and techniques, and advance my practice. In October 2020 I was accepted onto the MA Glass & Ceramics programme (part time) at the University of Sunderland, based in the National Glass Centre. I completed my MA this year with Distinction. My practice has developed significantly and I now work largely in kiln-formed glass, making work that is original in concept and design, and which challenges both myself and those who encounter it. During my studies I was awarded a Mike Davies Innovation Scholarship to explore the use of Nastaliq script (Urdu) within glass, and my final work ‘Hybridity. Do not ask’ was acquired for the permanent collection at Sunderland Museum &amp; Winter Gardens. My piece ‘Hold and he held’ was shortlisted for the inaugural Charlotte Fraser ceramics and glass prize at this year’s Holt Festival
What inspires you to work with this craft?
My current work concerns issues of identity, and explores my experiences of straddling different cultures and the challenges of navigating in-between-ness. I use glass to open up conversations about race, heritage and cultural identity in such a way that the underlying&nbsp; issues might resonate with wider society. My glass objects foreground fragments of text which I write using transliteration: English words in Urdu characters. This hybrid of languages mimics my background and invites the viewer to reflect on the relationship between what is seen and what is inferred, what is real and what is perceived.
How do you start your creative process?
The starting point of all of my work is a need to share or explore a specific element of the bi-racial experience. Through thinking, drawing and writing I arrive at a word or a fragment of text that encapsulates the issue, which I then translate into a visual object. Text, form and colour play equal roles in every work I make. Converting the essence of this object into an actual work involves creating maquettes, then templates and sometimes moulds, followed by colour tests and test pieces, before cutting, fusing and slumping the definitive glass to create the final object. I love cutting glass – it’s a beautiful and responsive material to work with, it’s fragile and yet hard and strong, and through form and colour the simplest works can tell the most complex story.
How would you best describe your workspace and what tools could you not do without?
I have a studio in a complex of artists’ and creatives’ studios on an old American Airbase in rural Suffolk, England. It has a large worktable in the centre of the room and a bed for my ‘studio assistant’ dog under the window. My glass cutter is my most precious tool, it’s a Toyo Custom Grip, and I couldn’t work without it. My kiln is also important and the many moulds and formers I’ve made to slump glass into and over.
What have you learnt or the best advice you have received that you would like to share with fellow crafters?
Make the work that you want to make, that tells your story, and satisfies your needs on both an artistic and a human level.
Media & Contact
Freelancing – Hassina Khan
Eric Orme/Place Photography – Suffolk, England
David Williams – Sunderland, England
Other Craft Practitioners
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3D printing Autocad designer; Computer technician.
Materials include recycled linens, polyesters, or new cotton linen and polyesters. Threads are DMC thread.
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