Photo: "Ancestors II," part of an installation
Tell us about yourself!
My name is Kirsti Taiviola. I'm a Helsinki-based designer and glass artist. I took my master's degree in ceramics and glass from The University of Art and Design Helsinki (currently known as Aalto University ARTS) in 2001. Since then I've worked as an independent designer and artist with glass as my main medium in projects varying from lighting designs to jewelry, and from studio production to unique artworks. I also work as a lecturer in Aalto University ARTS in Helsinki where I've been teaching several glass-related design and material research courses since 2003. At the moment I'm working on a three-year working grant supported by the Arts Promotion Centre Finland.
Why do you work with glass as a medium?
The versatility of glass in its aesthetics, material characteristics, and working techniques never ceases to inspire me. I'm especially charmed about the optics and transparency of the material. For me glass has been a fantastic medium to work with light. With hand-blown glass lenses, I've been able to draw images and patterns out of light beams and thus lead my work towards themes [that are] important to me.
I got to try working with glass when studying ceramics and felt that glass suited my temper. Working on hot glass needs fast reactions and intense concentration on the ongoing work that I enjoy a lot. It's great that in most cases you get your pieces out of the annealer the very next day. With ceramics one has to wait days, if not weeks, before the work is finished. However, over the years I've also come to enjoy the slower processes of glassmaking like kiln-casting and slumping, and it has made me admire the material even more. There is always something new to learn with glass.
What themes do you pursue in your work?
Immateriality, time, memory, and value have been important concepts in my artistic work.
What is your dream project?
I'm expanding my field of work to creating public artworks/installations. I'm searching for the right place to realize a large-scale installation that consists of tailored glass lenses and reflections of light to an architectural site. I've had the idea of the work in my mind for many years and it's waiting for the right place and moment to come out. One of my dreams ever since I was a student has been to get a chance to work in Murano with master glassblowers and create something spectacular with the Venetian glassblowing techniques. I admire skilled and experienced craftspeople and working with them is always inspiring.
Why are you a member of GAS?
Coming from Finland that is a small country with only a handful of artists working with glass, I wanted to connect to a larger community of glass artists and makers.
Member Profile: www.glassart.org/cgi/page.cgi?mid=84020&cmd=show_profile&_id=1430