artist spotlight
Brina Steblovnik

share your creative practice:
in conversation with Brina Steblovnik

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


Being a part of the international glass community is very important for me, coming from Slovenia, where opportunities for glass artists don’t exist. It is really great to be in touch with how other people around the world are experimenting with this material.


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


In glass, I am striving for continuation and development of the glass forming tradition from my cultural space. I always try to translate feelings or sensations about my aesthetic surroundings into glass. Mist, water, cloudy skies, and similar sensations translate to satinated or sandblasted surface of glass or choice for combination of colours; details of modern architectural or symbolic objects influence my decisions for shapes and cuts. Then I try finding a balance, grounded in simplicity and contrasts.


Has this changed the way you approach your work?


Definitely. I notice these influences in the way I think about translation of social topics in glass material, how I see the correlations between the concrete building details and the cut glass surface. I also always think about the tactile experience of the user and the interplay of light with the glass mass.


What initially captured your imagination about glass?


It was the amazement on the appearance of cast glass. I was taken by the satin surface of the glass mass, right after it was taken out of the mould. The light coming through the piece was sublime. The glass drew me with its beauty.


What’s the significance of the handmade to you?


I notice how the glass industry is getting more and more robotised and therefore I feel strong about elevating the handmade. There is so much beauty in the glass master’s skill. The tiny mistakes in the cut patterns, for example, are what makes the glass piece alive, showing this craftsman’s skill.


What was your route to becoming an artist?


I started off with architectural studies, but soon noticed I need a closer connection with the material. This led me to apply for studies of ceramics and glass at ALUO, University of Ljubljana. I applied mainly because of the ceramics, but then got taken by glass. After bachelor studies, I got an opportunity to work for Slovenia’s crystal brand Rogaška for a year and this led me to continue with master studies of glass in Prague. I now stand with one leg in product design and with the other in the field of arts, since design often leaves no space for personal expression and experimentation.


What is your chosen medium and what are your techniques?


In glass, I am most interested in kiln casting (usually lost wax technique) as a practice I can do without a bigger team. For my designs I like to collaborate with studios or freelance blowers and cutters. I also hope to develop my glass cutting skills in the future.


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


I would describe my work as contemporary glass design and art practice with regard for high-quality handmade production and alignment with the glass forming history of eastern Europe (Czech studio glass movement and cut crystal) to which I add details, drawn from my other sources of inspiration or other times address contemporary social issues.


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


Both my process and environment have been adapting to school workshops in the past and at the moment I am in the process of setting up my own working space in Ljubljana. Until then, I am connected to Czech lands, where I travel for realisation of my projects.


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


One of my greatest inspiration are modernist architects Jože Plečnik, Carlo Scarpa and other interesting concrete creations from times of Jugoslavia (brutalist aesthetics). From artists I really admire Brancusi and Isamu Noguchi as well as Jaroslava Brychtova and Stanislav Libensky. I think the Japanese aesthetics, grounded in simplicity, nature and pleasant mistakes are also close to my perception of beauty.


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


Lately I was most inspired by environment of my master studies in Prague. Designer and artist Rony Plesl, my former mentor, was a big influence on my work. I felt we shared some sense of aesthetics as well as poetic thinking about the glass tradition. I really admire the work he has done for company Ruckl, where this contemporary turn of traditional cut glass is clearly seen.


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


Covid-19 influenced my decision to prolong my studies by a year and work on distance on my glass designs. Being separated from the workshop was really really hard, even frustrating, since I was not able to try anything out by myself. However, the situation has pushed me to form my own workshop space in future, where no virus will be able to distract my working flow.

Brina Steblovnik

Brina Steblovnik is a Slovenian artist and designer, born in Maribor, Slovenia, 1993. She studied Architecture, graduated from ceramic and glass studies at ALUO, University of Ljubljana (BA), worked as glass designer for Rogaška Crystal brand, followed by MA studies at UMPRUM in Prague in the Glass studio of Rony Plesl. She lives and creates between Ljubljana and Prague.