Glass is both a very challenging and a versatile medium. To clarify, it is challenging because of the fragile nature of the medium, if something goes wrong with a composition, or a piece doesn’t fit, you must necessarily reject what you’ve created and start all over again, or try and find ways to circumvent such outright rejection.
Versatile, because of the myriad possibilities glass has to offer both by itself and in combination with other media. Glass as a medium can be used not only in two-dimensional compositions, but also in sculpture.
Back in the nation’s capital when the city of Delhi has recorded a maximum voter turnout a day before, I am with Sonia Sareen, a vivacious artist who has poured her creative energies into expressions of glass which are as amorous as the lady herself – there couldn’t have been a better way to spend a Thursday evening.
Not many know this but Sonia actually started with earth, and then graduated to glass. After her studies she started out as an interior decorator, where she was introduced to a variety of forms and media. One of these was clay, at a time when studio pottery was virtually unknown she started a large studio devoted exclusively to it.
Working with glass wasn’t something that was even remotely on Sonia’s radar, so how did it all begin? “On one of my visits to my sister’s home in New York she convinced me to pursue a course at the New York School of Visual Arts – and this is where my journey with glass began. Upon returning to India, I started my glass studio, and haven’t looked back since,” says Sonia.
In glass too there are a number of creative options in the offing, however, she hit the road with stained glass. Sonia has used stained glass to make everything, from Tiffany style lamps to large windows and partitions, using coloured glass just as effectively as clear glass – weaving intricate and beautiful patterns to enrich spaces. Currently busy with her creations in slumped and fused glass, she has also designed exquisite Venetian glass mirrors.
As Sonia continues with her foray of words, I set my eyes on her creations which adorn the studio – and it’s not just glass out here – mixed media work involving glass embellished in wood and metal, as well as extensive work in ceramics, mosaic art and relief art have been put up on display.
The workspace for these creations too has been divided very tactically on the basis of the kind of work being done. Projects involving glass slumping and fusion require the use of a kiln hence it occupies a separate zone in the workshop, similarly large projects require a lot of space and mobility, all these permutations and combinations were kept in mind when designing the workspaces.
As I align back to my listener’s mode, Sonia asserts “When It comes to designing that is exclusively my domain! For execution, it has to be a mix of both. Some of my work also involves extensive woodwork and metal work – I would have to rely upon a trained karigar for that.”
After being loyal to a medium an artist often becomes enslaved to it but not Sonia, transiting between one medium and another isn’t difficult for her; in fact she is concentrating on metal as a medium to express her creative analogies. Having already exhibited her sculptural pieces twice this year her work was also selected at the 86th Annual All India Art Exhibition 2013, organised by AIFACS (All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society).
Considering her studio is located in a well-known area and her bespoke creations are also available on a spoken criterion; a visit to her studio can help you find that ‘glassical’ marvel of magnificence you might be searching for, but yes only after you have taken a prior appointment.
Text By Vikas Bhadra
Sonia’s Glass Studio
32-A, Empire Estate, Sultanpur,
M G Road, New Delhi – 110030.
mob: +91-9811011958, 9811011239