When the ‘Suncatcher bird’ reflects colors in all glory and a smile touches your lips, you know Glasshopper just has a magic touch. While we conversed with the Lady who adds life to glass through her art work, Saarus Nirhali, enthrals us by admitting that she is actually a criminal lawyer who practised for a few years, whom the courts lost and the world of art found in its enfold. The brand name ‘Glasshopper’ was registered in the year 2008, October but actually started working professionally in the beginning of 2010. Saarus makes original stained glass (Tiffany method that includes cutting the glass and using copper foil and lead solder) and also glass mosaics, especially garden accessories, wall decor and stepping stones.In stained glass, she make the tiffany style lampshades, door and window panels, suncatchers/light catchers and stained glass garden accessories.
While the transition from law to art happened gradually, it was due to a desire to learn an art form. Having seen the stained glass panels in churches In India and abroad, she had found her calling. Beginning with smaller things, the sun catchers and then slowly moved ahead to make lampshades and large window and door panels, as tall as 7 feet by 3 feet! She finds it peaceful to create with her hands. She sums up her choice in her works succinctly, “Original stained glass is different. It is classy, it is rare in India. It is rich and bright and even the smallest dangler, sun catchers attracts your attention. It’s definitely not the usual. Also since I had seen large panels and tiffany style lampshades earlier in churches around the world I was totally fascinated with this art. I do not think I would have opted for anything other than learning original stained glass.” She defines her work by her originality and the bright colous and her commissioned work reflects the desire of the customer and her representation of their thoughts on glass. Her Christmas themed stained glass designs are most sort after. When asked what her favourite work is, she says, “My favorite work is the bright red heart shaped angels that I made last Christmas. I experimented with the design for a long time, till I soldered the glass pieces with round glass nuggets and silver polished artistic wire. It was a hit all the angels found homes that Christmas. Other than that, the massive 7 feet by 3 feet peacock panel that I made for a client in Mumbai and Bangalore is close to my heart.
While she says very modestly that in her opinion, she is no expert in getting people to appreciate art; how she appreciates art or what attracts her to an artist and his/her work are the experiments in their field of work, a mix and match or odd combinations of colours, textures or a mix media that draws attention, trying different styles and not getting trapped into a particular style of work. She also loves quirky things, but feels it’s too common though these days and thus losing its charm. When quizzed on who her favourite artists are and which are the art pages she follows, pat comes her reply and the gleam on her face is unmistakable.
She says, “David Kennedy and Jim Beriberich are my most favourite stained glass artist, I wonder if I can reach their level ever in my life. I don’t think so, but I shall try. David’s brand Kennedy original stained glass takes this art to another level, the detailed work and use of textures in glass is simply outstanding. While Jim is a stained glass painter, where he makes human figures in stained glass and paints their expressions, the Jesus Christ made by Jim seems as if he is alive and spreads its arms to give you a warm hug. In Namma Bengaluru, I follow, respect and look up to Aarohi Singh, although Aarohi paints the most lively eyes and human figures and portraits and has nothing to do with glass, her work is magnetic and her profile as an artist is to die for. She is a true inspiration for many and I am one of her fans. Also my friend and Pune based artist Debu Barve is another person I get to learn from, his work on canvas, in metal, his choice of home decor and handmade things gives you a complex and pushes you to work as hard as him and make things around you look fabulous. His art blogs introduce you to such great and unique artists around the world and are most sought after by budding artists.” The art pages she diligently follows are Art by Aarohi, Gilas by Nirmala, Kennedy Original stained glass, Cariad stained glass, Purple Turtles, Project Emm, Kasia Mosaics, A Hundred Hands, Kalyani Ganapathy and Scribbles by Su. She is also under Pinterest addiction.
The Sunday Soul Santhe at Bangalore where people recognised Glasshopper just by looking at the 3D bird in stained glass has been Saarus’s most memorable moment. Saarus feels that no person should copy the work of another artist and she says that it is a serious matter for artists’ to consider. “I take absolute pride in kindling fire in the homes/ kitchens of people with little or no artistic thoughts who have made money by replicating (copying and selling) my work”, are her thoughts when we speak about work being plagiarised.
If this piece has inspired you to learn from the master herself, she does conduct workshops. She teaches the tiffany styled stained glass and the beginners’ course is crafted for 2 days and she also teaches advanced courses, which are time consuming as she teaches large panels and/or lampshades. Saarus also conducts workshops for glass mosaics which is roughly a 3 to 4 days course. Mark your calendars as since July 2014, she will begin her new batches.
You can write to her at email@example.com and make sure that you like and follow her page – Facebook : www.facebook.com/glasshopper19
Website – www.glasshopper.in
So, let the sun beams tell you a story the Glasshopper way!