Tell us about yourself.
I am Karola Dischinger, a native German living and working in Switzerland. In 1999 I got in touch with glass by chance when a friend asked me to join her for a fusing class. In 2002 I took my first class in Bildwerk and quickly knew I wanted more, so in 2003 I took a break from my Human Resources career and attended a Penland School of Crafts 2-month session to learn the basics of glass blowing. Each year afterward, I took classes during holidays in Germany, the UK, Turkey, and the US to learn more about the material and the various techniques. Since 2014 I have been working full-time in glass, and this year I had my first solo show, “Modern Times in Our Working Environment,” in Basel/Switzerland.
What draws you to the material you work with and why have you chosen the processes you use in your work?
There are so many different techniques that express a different quality and “presence” of a piece and make it appear beautiful or ugly--heavy thick castings, delicate blown work, fragile and brittle pate de verre, cold work producing ceramic-like effects, and more. The wide-ranging possibilities made glass the perfect material in my project about our modern working environment because I could explore and transmit complex messages, often metaphorically, about the impact of organizational pressures on human beings.
What themes do you pursue in your work?
Since my background is in Human Resources, for the last 4 years I have worked around topics like personality, relationships, company strategy, connections, responsibility, leadership, gender and inclusion, organization, health, teamwork, and values of companies and employees. I’m now developing a project around a new theme, but my driving interest remains how people can enhance relationships and society through their ways of interacting.
What is your dream project?
Currently, I dream about showing my work in a corporate environment in industry, banking, or social media companies that have such a strong influence on our daily lives. I would like the management, in particular, to reflect on why taking more social responsibility should take precedence over continually making more profit. (I’m very aware that probably nobody in business would share my dream.)
If you weren’t working in this field, what career would you choose?
Working for a museum or managing exhibitions in order to learn more about the other side of the art business.
Why are you a member of GAS?
GAS is the biggest glass-related organization, and I appreciate all the information available from the US. Also, I enjoy catching up with friends and colleagues at the GAS conferences, such as the incredible Murano one.
To learn more about Karola Dischinger, check out a catalog from her most recent show, or her GAS Member Profile Page.