KLÁRA WAS HUMBLE AND SHY WHEN WE FIRST MET. She surprised me by suggesting a beer across the road from her studio. She surprised me even more when she returned to work after our meeting.
A glass artist from Prague, Czech Republic, Klára first studied at AAAD for six years and went on to work for another three years as a glass artist before coming back to AAAD as an assistant in the kiln workshop and to the head of the glass studio, Rony Plesl. Glass-making isn’t a cheap process, so for Klára, having a studio and access to facilities, makes it the perfect job.
Klára still lives in the same area she grew up, just outside of Prague. She holds great admiration for her mum, who originally studied typography at AAAD, before turning to botany. Her mother is now studying her PhD in Amazonian medicinal plants and their possible use in medicine. She returns from South America every six months. Klára’s brother and aunt also reside in Peru and Argentina respectively. There is a strong connection between her family and Latin America. Klára has visited South America a number of times. She tells me of her experiences with Ayawaska, canoeing down a river for five days and coming back with a fungus infection that made her and two others extremely sick. In her half laugh, half giggle, she tells me she probably still has mushrooms growing inside of her because the fungus never quite dies.
While studying Glass at AAAD, Klára went on an exchange semester to a small town in Finland called Nuutajärvi. “The atmosphere was nice and calm and all around was really beautiful nature. I felt a bit like a hermit there. I had a lot of time to think. For me, travelling is always inspirational. And then I also like the moment when you come back home, not so much for homesickness, but for the new perspective you get. It is like coming back home with new eyes.”
After her return, Klára completed an exchange with the sculpture department where she was able to experiment with different materials and shapes.
In addition to her position at AAAD, Klára has begun the long process of starting her own studio with partner Jaroslav, at a location just outside Prague. She is also experimenting with her own work, which is a mix of art and design.
“The pieces I am working on now are about exploring visual elements of glass, to show what is not normally visible. Currently I am focusing on the tension in glass. The tension is something that usually causes problems; when making a glass object, we always want to avoid it, because it can cause the crack of the glass.
“For my work I am using special foils, which are used to visualise this tension. Basically, when you put the piece of glass between two foils and turn on a light behind, you can see what is not visible to the naked eye – revealing colors of light. This occurs due to different optical qualities and changes how the light passes through.
“Different views of reality have always fascinated me; the relativity of things and states which we are so sure about.”