For the love of glass

For the love of glass

Madhuri Jalan’s first brush with clay was when her daughter brought it home after finishing art studies. Jalan, like every mother, encouraged her to set up a ceramics studio. The studio came into being but her daughter soon stopped using it. However, Jalan took this opportunity to leave behind her painting expertise and start using ceramics as a medium, later followed by glass — which has been the 75-year-old artist’s muse for over two decades now.

A glimpse of Kolkata-based artist’s experimentation with glass is displayed in the capital in an exhibition titled ‘Ganesha and Ganesha’, and as the title suggests, Jalan has played with structural forms to create Lord Ganesha in different hues and dimensions.

“I was always enamoured by Ganesha. Even in my first painting show in early 70s, I had painted him. That is why there are so many manifestations of him in the exhibition,” Jalan tells Metrolife.

Jalan calls herself a process artist and not a conceptual one. According to her, the simple approach she follows while creating something is to master the “art of making”.

“The biggest hurdle while dealing with glass as a medium is that the temperature of the kiln has to be controlled by a computer. The process of cooling down too has to be slow, otherwise the glass will break,” explains Jalan.

“So the first step is to create a cast and then fill it with glass. Then heat it in a kiln, cool and break the cast to get the desired object. However, if the temperature isn’t controlled properly, the entire process will turn out to be futile,” she says.

Mostly self taught, Jalan started using the medium by reading, experimenting and using her existing clay kilns. She also attended summer residencies and workshops in the US to hone her skills.

What she enjoys most in ceramics is Raku - a Japanese technique of firing. “I love experimenting and it’s a delight to explore the unexplored. I believe that, today, I am at my best with glass where my joy finds an uninhibited expression,” she says.

Her background as a painter and ceramic artist provides a foundation and depth to her works in glass and this strongly resonates in this show. The show Ganesha and Ganesha is displayed at Open Palm Court in India Habitat Centre till September 17.

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