Tell us about yourself!
My name is Krista Israel. I was born in 1975 in Amersfoort, a historical city in the centre of the Netherlands. I was raised here, and this is where I have my studio.
It took some time before I discovered glass—after three unfinished studies and several office jobs. I always felt I did not belong somehow. Influenced by my gold/silversmith studies, I started making beaded jewelry in 2000. Soon I was interested in making the glass beads myself. I did not know any glass artists, so I searched on the internet and picked up the phone. I spoke to Moniek van Munster, a fusing and stained-glass artist, but she could not teach me how to make glass beads. However, she had a torch and some glass rods and invited me over for the weekend to her studio to experiment. Once I was at the torch melting glass, I knew I had found my material. The connection I had missed in my work with gold and silver I found that day in glass. I took several technique classes over the next few years. In 2007 I began my studies in the Glass Department at the State Institute for Art & Craft in Belgium. I graduated with honors with a BFA and MFA.
What draws you to the material you work with, and why have you chosen the processes that you use in your work?
The fascination I have with glass is the variety in techniques. I never get bored. With every project there is something new to learn. You need to know about other materials as well, before you can make a glass object. I enjoy the total focus this material requires. I am also drawn to the visual aspects of glass. But a piece does not have to be pretty. Glass gives me the possibility to tell a vulnerable, personal story, and to give a raw opinion on society. It is the nature of these opposites that draws me.
In China for the first time, with a group of glass artists from all over the world, I was struck by the fact that all of preconceptions disapeared. We were all connected because of glass. That made me even love it more.
What themes do you pursue in your work?
I am deeply interested in the impact of our hyper-complex world on each of us as modern human beings. Rapid societal change, corporate globalization, war, technology, social media, climate change, and the fragility of freedom affect us all.
My work has two personalities in a way. One is making statements and comments on our society. The other side is connected to personal stories and emotions. Protection and concern about wellbeing are the essence of my works.
What is your dream project?
My dream project... I’ve been playing with this idea for several years, but recent possibilities have made the fire for this concept flame up again. The project is an on-site installation, measuring about 3 x 3 metres, with thousands of assembeled parts of glass.
Currently I am doing research on installations by other artists, making designs and looking into funding possibilities and exhibition space.
If you weren't working in this field, what career would you choose?
If I had the financial possibilities, I would create affordable artist studios, with programs and a gallery. An initiative like Glass Wheel Studio, for example, is so inspiring.
My inspiration for this dream is the sale and demolition of old buildings being used as artists’ studios in my hometown. Thirty-five artists will be without a studio in the coming months, including myself. Another artists’ building will meet the same end in two years.
What's something about you that most people don't know?
When I was 8 years old I told my Mom ‘ I wouldn’t ever want to work in an office!!’. How prophetic were those words?
Why are you a member of GAS?
To me it is important to be connected to the glass world outside my studio. Being up to date and able to connect with colleagues and learn is part of my development as an artist. The Glass Art Society provides opportunities for innovation and the growth of glass art for artists around the globe.
Visit Krista Israel's GAS member profile here.
Keeping Up Appearances II