Tell us about yourself!
My Name is Nina Casson McGarva, I was born in Gloucester in England, I grew up in rural central France in the middle of the Burgundy countryside, in a house surrounded by the 18th century buildings of a brick and tile works. I come from a family of potters, and have always been in the workshop making things with clay. Growing up in an environment of nature and craft has definitely influenced my life and work so far.
I started studying glass at l'Ecole Nationale du verre in France and at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts on Bornholm, I have been awarded residencies in the USA and am now recently based England.
What draws you to the material you work with, and why have you chosen the processes that you use in your work?
I had been searching for the craft and the material that would suit me best for several years. After growing up with parents working with clay and textiles, I trained as a cabinet maker for a couple years but I finally found glass and decided that this would be my direction.
I have always been fascinated by glass objects, since an early age I liked the mineral look and how light goes through glass.
My current work combines several techniques to create a unique aesthetic.
In my work process the first step is to create basic units using diverse techniques as follows: they can be fused, blown or cast glass which are then worked cold and combined in a second and final step using techniques like fusing or casting to build the final sculpture.
What themes do you pursue in your work?
The starting point in my work is nature. I take a detail of an element I find in nature and use it as an inspirational base to create my own abstraction, that then builds into a complex sculpture.
My inspiration comes from cycles of nature that I associate with glass because to me the material is at its most alive when it’s hot and being transformed. The end result is solid and doesn’t move any longer, it’s at the fragile time before disintegration and maintains a dynamic form and rich structures such as dry leaves, feathers or sea shells. In the making process, I shape it hot in an open kiln until the glass stops moving. When the glass transforms to be a solid, the piece is finished.
Why are you a member of GAS?
I am a member of GAS because I enjoy being a part of a glass community and sharing ideas among glass artists and glass enthusiasts around the world.
To learn more about Nina or to see more of her work, go to her GAS member profile page.