artist spotlight
Elmira Abolhassani

share your creative practice:
in conversation with Elmira Abolhassani

What does it mean to you to join the North Lands Creative network and be part of building a community for glass?


For me, it is continuously crucial to be part of a society and human networks. Being part of this network means sharing and receiving genuine opinions from common materials, Glass. We all need these daily feeds to have a better perception of our world.


Tell us about your work. What influences translate into your art practice?


My works were influenced mainly by politics, wars, cultural conflicts, and human interconnections.

All works and thoughts stem from this idea “we must first attain a clear vision of ourselves to apprehend significant aspects of our world.” 

Therefore as an artist who uses glass as the primary material in my works, I try to find myself while trying to master glass.


Has this changed the way you approach your work?


Definitely yes. I have been traveling for the last ten years of my life. I have selected torch techniques and then mirror mosaics because of the associations with network concepts, conflicts, and cultural frictions.


What initially captured your imagination about glass?


I think Glass is a material that can be soft or hard, Transparent or opaque, solid, or liquid. A living creature that you have to befriend with to be able to work with. The live character of glass has always charmed me the most.


What’s the significance of the handmade to you?


My body is under the control of my brain, which means my hands can create what I imagine. Despite some limitations, each experience I had with my hands and new materials was a source of  later ideas.


What was your route to becoming an artist?


My art journey was started with Painting ( High school diploma). I have then continued with industrial design (B.A), which has enhanced my design and creation abilities.  After my B.A, I have series of journeys around the world (Ended in Portugal) to explore various eastern and western cultures. Then I found glass that has influenced all my artworks and professions.

What is your chosen medium and what are your techniques?


I did not limit my works to any materials. I tried to use any elements that can show my thought. I used Persian carpet, cement, and glass simultaneously in one piece, or I played Afghan refugee sounds on another glass installation. However, glass was always one of my common materials. I mostly use borosilicate glass and do my works with flameworking techniques and the Persian mirror mosaic technique.


How would you describe your work and where do you think it fits within the sphere of contemporary glass?


All of my activities and works are based on three pillars:  Identity, communication, and self-reflection. I use art to show my concerns and beliefs, as I see the subjects above techniques. I assume myself as an interdisciplinary conceptual glass artist.


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


My works commonly occur with an Idea and get developed over time. I love to involve my spirit and hands simultaneously to create artworks. Gradually, I invite other elements to step into my imaginary installation and then the final works.


Who do you look up to when it comes to aesthetics?


Louise Bourgeois


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


Human inter-connections are the core of inspiration for me. Every day, I explore worldwide cultural conflicts and influences and how people and societies affect each other. This human network helps me find myself as one node in the system. I am constantly looking for artists who defined their artworks as a medium to move, change and influence their societies.


How are you experiencing the Covid-19 pandemic in your country? To what extent has your everyday life as an artist changed in lockdown?


I used to work in a glass workshop, and now I had to change my working space to a mini studio. Mentioned before, I see the subject above the technique. So during the pandemic, I managed to produce more works!

It was an opportunity to find times using old skills, new materials and blend multiple techniques.

Elmira Abolhassani


Lives and works in Lisbon, Portugal.

She holds a master of glass art, science, and technology from the University of Nova de Lisboa. 

The ultimate purpose of her artistic journey, to date, has been to understand how human networks and identities are formed and what their underlying structure is. Therefore as an artist, she uses glass as the primary material besides any other material that can show her concerns in her installations.

Her works were exhibited as a solo,  group, and online exhibitions in international galleries and institutions such as Stal Gallery, Muscat, Oman(2021).S12 Gallery, Bergen, Norway(2019). Redgate Gallery, Beijing, China(2019). National Museum of Natural History and Science Lisbon, Portugal(2018). The city museum, Almada, Portugal(2016).