artist spotlight
Krista Israel

share your creative practice:
in conversation with Krista Israel

What influences translate into your art practice?

The modern world we live in is the main influence in my work – my thoughts and reflections about the needs, physical health and mental wellbeing of the people living in our society. My works in a very realistic style, but it is not about the obvious, there are always several layers underneath.

Has this changed the way you approach your work?

There has certainly been a moment that has brought about change in my work. During a lecture by John Moran (in 2011 if I remember correctly) I realized that you can give your opinion on social issues that are difficult to put into words, creating a voice through the art you make. That glass art doesn’t necessarily have to be shiny and pretty, that this material, which is known for those properties, can also be used in a completely different way. For me that was an aha moment which certainly influenced the series of critical works on social media and rapid technical developments that I made in the following

years. In life we go through stages and changes, that also happens in the works you make. The last big change for me was when I first started working with coloured glass 2 years ago. In the years before I always thought to work only with clear glass in order to let the object speak for itself, without distractions. But the project ‘We’ve Been Sugared’ needed that

pink colour to complete the story and image. With this work I realized how powerful the influence of colour is.

What initially captured your imagination about glass?

I started out in my education as a pastry chef and later silversmith. Neither of these materials made my heart sing like the first time I melted a glass rod in a flame. Something happened in that moment. I had no clue what glass art was at that point, I just felt the need to start exploring its possibilities.

What’s the significance of the handmade to you?

Handmade is of great importance to me and I feel a certain pride in working with traditional techniques. For me it is important to make a work exactly the way I want it to be. I want to keep an open mind to learn new things. Learning and discovering are important to me.

What was your route to becoming an artist?

After high-school I started out in my education as a pastry chef and later silversmith. Both couldn’t keep my attention and I rolled into sales and office jobs. Which made me miserable but I thought that was the thing to do to make a living. It was a period in which I was at home because of a burn-out that I started making jewellery again, this time out of glass beads. This led to the wish to make my own beads. After the first introduction to flamework I followed several glass technique
workshops over a period of about 5 years. Meanwhile I started working in the largest bead store in the Netherlands where I designed jewellery and gave workshops. In 2005 I first heard of the Glass Art department of the Institute for Art and Crafts (IKA) in Belgium. For almost 2 years I thought about registering, because then I had to cut hours on my job. Living alone at that time that was a big decision to make. But after a visit to the glass department I knew I had to go there.

What is your chosen medium and what are your techniques?

Casting, flamework, pâte de verre are the techniques I work with, using the natural characteristics of the different glass techniques to achieve the desired result to express my thoughts. I combine glass with other materials such as cloth, computer parts, plastic toys or a chair.

Tell us a bit about your process and what environment you like to work in?

Ideas most of the time take years to crystallize. Often it is not yet the time to make them physical. Starting from an idea the works change shape during the process, sometimes several times. In that sense I work intuitively and look at what feels right. I like chaos around me – my workbenches are full of things which give me ideas and I constantly weigh up what does and does not fit together. Sometimes something has been lying in the studio for years which suddenly is exactly what I need. In that sense I am also a collector. Repetition of small parts made into structures is a recurring theme in my work. Also repetition of small glass objects into a group come from my fascination for the power of numbers. I keep coming back to this.

What currently inspires you and which other artists do you admire and why? 

During the corona lockdown I did a lot of thinking and came to the conclusion that making the works with (ironic) humour really appeals to me. The objects with the fur-like textures have been given a new twist since by adding blown objects, among other things. I am currently working on a new series of objects for an exiting new project for the end of 2021. I admire a wide range of artists for several reasons. In glass just to name a few – Katya Filmus for her mold making techniques; Matthew Szosz for his completely different approach to the material glass; Alison Lowry for her taboo breaking work about the Irish history; Silvia Levenson for the symbolism in her work from which I learned a lot; Richard Meitner for his approach to art education; Simone Crestani and Carrie Fertig for their flamework skills; Roni Horn – just complete in awe when I saw the tons of glass in real life (felt like such a glass nerd haha); Simone Fezer for her ability to think big, her installations are stunning. There are too many to list them all. Non glass, to name a few – Carolein Smit, a Dutch ceramic artist who uses a lot fur textures in her works that she makes out of thousands of small rolls of clay; the Chinese painter Zheng Fanzi, his enormous work Hare brought me to tears when I was confronted with it – something that has never happened to me before; Mona Hatoum how she comments on politics and the way explores the dangers and confines of the domestic worl

Krista Israel

Krista Israel is a Dutch based artist with a main focus on glass. Looking at her work it is like entering a story. The artworks are pleasing to eye but there is a layer of bittersweetness in everyone of them. Her works are in a realistic style, but it is not about the obvious reality. Krista is an artist who uses a broad variety of techniques, using the natural characteristics of glass to express her thoughts and reflections of the world and people and thus address the needs of our wellbeing. The combination of different techniques and her thoughts make her work complex and intriguing.