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Exclusive Interview: Glass Sutra founder, Reshmi Dey on what inspires her

Captivated by the handcrafted beauty of glass and realising the lack of awareness about the glass art form in India, Reshmi Dey, founder of Glass Sutra throws some light on the inspiration behind her showcase at the India Art Fair.

Contemporary glass is a type of fine art sculpture in which the artist uses glass as a medium of expression. Pieces of abstract glass that have been meticulously crafted over time have a unique quality. In addition to their dynamic designs, these works of passionate craftsmanship are admired for their timeless nature. The application of stained glass art goes back to the aughts and has an interesting history. One of the oldest forms of glass art is stained glass, which dates back a thousand years. Stained glass windows that were once mostly found in churches, cathedrals, and other religious buildings are presently making a comeback in contemporary architecture, particularly in Victorian-style homes.

Renowned glassmaker, artist, designer, entrepreneur and founder of Glass Sutra, Reshmi Dey showcased a glass art installation of the Bodhi Tree at the India Art Fair this year. The Glass Menagerie was all about contemporary practices in glass, alongside Reshmi Dey’s creative wit and intricate craft. The Bodhi Tree’s installation by Dey was filled with delicate details, expressing the intrinsic values that the tree holds in Indian mythology. Furthermore, to share her experience and her vision behind the installation, Reshmi Dey lets us in on her journey and her inspiration for the same.

A creative insight from Reshmi Dey:

Where did the concept of Glass Sutra come from?

The idea for Glass Sutra was sparked when I was studying Glass in England. I pursued an education in Glass abroad because there were no institutions in India offering glass-making craft and art classes. Through my experiences studying Glass in the UK, Italy, Sweden, and the USA, I realized the importance of combining formal education with hands-on learning in glass making. This is just as crucial as studying Art in a college or university. Additionally, I noticed a lack of awareness about Glass art studios in India, as there were no open studios providing hands-on experience for people to understand the process of creating glass artwork. Despite this, people in India were knowledgeable and appreciative of Murano, Czech, and Belgian Glass, but appreciation for glasswork itself was still lacking. This motivated me to establish Glass Sutra, with the goal of filling this gap in my own capacity.

Who is your inspiration? Or where do you get your inspiration from?

To be truthful, I find my inspiration from within and the Glass itself. The material evokes love and inspiration in me and I am determined to persist on my journey despite any setbacks. Additionally, I am inspired by individuals who have dared to chart their own path and swim against the tide. So, it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to name one or a few.

Tell us about your favourite piece of work.

Every piece I create is personal and unique, and I pour all of my efforts into each one. However, once a work is completed, I always feel like I could have done better. Despite this, I have affection for every piece I have created. I do not believe in showing preference or partiality in either my personal or professional life. Currently, my favourite piece is the Bodhi Tree.
Glass Sutra

Tell us about the Glassmakers Club.

The Glassmakers Club is the brainchild of Ashwini Pai Bahadur of Artspeaks India, an accomplished Fine Arts Strategic Advisor with over two decades of experience. She previously worked with a few artists who blended Glass and painting such as Hemi Bawa and Sisir Sahana but on a limited basis. During the pandemic, she established The Glassmakers Club, the first-ever platform and forum in South Asia dedicated to the medium of glass and its various forms. The club’s primary objective is to give the glass the recognition it deserves by bringing together artists, practitioners, writers, connoisseurs, and collectors who explore the medium in different ways, and tackle the infrastructural and other challenges faced by glass makers. The club was launched online with a panel discussion about glass and the difficulties faced by glass makers. The goal is to create a supportive environment to establish glass as an independent entity in the art world. The exhibition “The Glass Menagerie” at the Bikaner House marks the formal launch of the club.

When did you get the idea of getting into glass art?

I discovered that Glass Art can be incredibly alluring due to its ability to manipulate light and colour. 25 years ago, I was captivated by the beauty of a handcrafted glass piece as I watched it cast a stunning image on a white wall through the refraction of its colours in the sun. My heart skipped a beat and I was instantly smitten with the material, beginning my journey. Furthermore, my love for Glass Art deepened when I had the chance to meet Glass master Petr Novotny and his assistant, now a renowned glass sculptor, Martin Janecky. Spending a month with them was a valuable and transformative experience that nourished my passion for Glass Art.

What is the idea behind the glass installation of the Bodhi Tree?

To understand life more deeply and achieve balance in this material world, it is important to look inward and cultivate inner consciousness. The Bodhi Tree is seen as a symbol of knowledge, enlightenment, the eternal, immortality, and fertility. It is widely believed (especially in India) to have healing properties and the ability to banish evil spirits. It is crucial for all of us to control the negativity within ourselves and heal to become better individuals.
Hero and Featured Image: Courtesy GlassSutra
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