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Artist Reshmi Dey’s Glass Sutra breathes art into glass

Arathi Menon
posted on 12th January 2018
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Glass Sutra is India’s first comprehensive public access glass art studio. It strives to provide glass artists, enthusiasts of this art form, and exponents from other creative fields, the liberty to follow their passion and indulge in their artistic expression.

Glass artist Reshmi Dey

You can find art everywhere in nature. Then why would glass be any different? Glass art may not be a very popular form of art in India yet but it is certainly finding its way into our living rooms and exhibition halls.

What is glass art really? Reshmi Dey of Glass Sutra explains it as the most skillful, almost magical blending of creativity and technical process that can produce a masterpiece.

“Glass art is more about individual works of art that are substantially or wholly made of glass; it could range from monumental installation works to small pieces of wall art, lighting, decorative art and sculpture made in studios,” she elaborates.

That takes us to the question: Who is Reshmi Dey and what is Glass Sutra? Glass Sutra is India’s first comprehensive public access glass art studio. A one-of-a-kind creative space, the studio strives to provide glass artists, glass art enthusiasts as well as artists of other forms of art a space to indulge in their creative art form.

Founded by glass artist Reshmi who honed her skills at The International Glass Centre in Dudley, UK, at Glass Sutra, one not only gets a platform to explore glass art but also gets to diversify his/her skills, acquire exposure and recognition for their talent.

Explaining the name Glass Sutra, Reshmi tells HerStory, “The word ‘Sutra’ in Sanskrit means any short rule, like a theorem distilled into few words or syllables, around which any field of knowledge can be woven. I drew my inspiration from glass and woven with it.” She couldn’t think of a better name than Glass Sutra for a glass art studio where different processes or techniques of glass making are used to create art and share this knowledge with others.

Launched on March 24, 2017, Glass Sutra is dedicated to everything glass. “The studio is about promoting, educating, appreciating and spreading awareness of the glass art form. Hence, Glass Sutra lets individuals from various walks of life, artists and all those associated with this magical art form express their commitment to artistic education, creativity and innovation,” she says.

From keen students to professional artists, everyone is welcome at this studio. Reshmi says what she strives to do with the studio is to establish glass as a preferred medium of expression, to create a strong community of studio glass artists by encouraging education of glass as a medium.

“At Glass Sutra, people get to experience the relationship between glass and the undying love of a glassmaker for the material through hands on experience. Appreciation begins when participants begin to relate themselves to the art and the material, thereby forming a bond,” says Reshmi.

There is a lot that Glass Sutra is striving to mentor budding artists. Apart from customised glass-making courses, the studio is  also open for internship programmes for students from various design and art schools.

“We take pride in mentoring and preparing an art lover to become an artist. Presently an intern Emilia Elin from France has joined us for four months of internship programme. The platform Studio Glass Sutra has been created with the thought of bringing artists from different fields under one roof,” she explains.

Having almost 15 years of international exposure in glass art and driven by passion, Reshmi says she wishes to create awareness for this amazing material and raise the standard of glass art and education in India. “I have been involved with many glass craft and cluster development programmes initiated by Government of India. I have been constantly learning the nuances of this form by inviting international artists to the studio and enrolling in workshops internationally,” she says. She also attends annual Glass Art Society conferences held internationally to keep herself with the field.

All that dedication is certainly paying off.  Reshmi says the response to Glass Sutra has been overwhelming. A few months into its opening, Glass Sutra has already held more than five corporate workshops, many group walk-in workshops and many requests from serious learners. “We have done workshops/programmes with companies like Maruti, Ikea, LG, Google and Nexa,” she says.

Glass Sutra may already be a huge success but it was not without its share of challenges. Reshmi had a few people around her always trying to discourage her from following her passion and establishing this studio. “People thought it is an insane idea to invest in establishing such a huge setup to create awareness for glass art,” she says.

Then there was the financial part. “There was no additional funds apart from my own earnings/savings,” she says. Another big challenge was to get the right place with the limited budget.

“Since budget was a concern, I decided to build the entire studio under my supervision with whatever knowledge I could gather. So, dealing with people right from the mason, electrician to the supplier was one of the challenges that I have faced. A bigger challenge than that was to bring the required machines, equipment and tools to the studio as I am very particular about health and safety. I had to import all of them from the US and Europe. India lacks in quality and safety when it comes to glass making equipment and you never get any decent glass-making tools, especially when it comes to mouth blown and handcrafted/sculpted glass making,” she says.

Who is her inspiration?

“I am my own inspiration because I believe that if I can look inward and find the strength and beauty within, I will be able to fetch inspiration from every living and non-living being from my surroundings,” she says.

And, finally, does she have a favourite piece of glass art? While it is difficult to choose, she says her current favourite is an installation art 23ft tall and 14ft in width simply for the challenge it was to create it. “Coordinating the concept with three different techniques and there after installing the same on a vertical wall with a working schedule from evening 6 to morning 6,” she trails off.

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