Unpredictable hot lava shaped into the look for the theme of Future
The handiwork of glass artist Sini Majuri can be witnessed in the look for this year’s Finnish Craft & Design fair. The glass work utilises the Graal technique that is more than a century old, in which the glass is blown several times over. A new patterning method has been combined with the old technique to attain lightness by using lacelike leaf patterns.
Majuri’s work has several layers. The piece reflects a mystery from the future which is the theme for this year’s Finnish Craft & Design fair.
– You must see near to also be able to see far. When you look inside the object, you first look through lace – in a way, through the human tradition of crafts, inside a cell and into humanity. The hands carry the future. Glass is at the same time eternal yet fragile. Sensitive and strong. This is a form of a paradox, says the artist.
Team and assistant provide support in difficult working stages
Majuri is a designer-artist. In creating the work for the fair, Majuri was joined by her trusty team: glass artist Marja Hepo-aho and glassblowing maestro Kari Alakoski.
– The amount of talent that will be lost when these people retire one day is something unbelievable. They represent something very unique in Finland and can turn glass into anything imaginable, Majuri enthuses.
When Majuri is working alone, she is sometimes aided by an assistant who can help in difficult working stages. For instance, another pair of hands can hold a mould open or help when handling heavier objects.
– Working with glass involves many pairs of hands whizzing here and there. Over the years I have discovered my own crowd. Working becomes a sort of dance when we start serial production. Communication and respect for the other person are extremely important. Even the smallest gesture tells you what the other person means, she says.
International discussion in the field is important
Hand-made glass is nominated for inclusion in Unesco’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The multinational application is expected to be decided in December 2023.
– It is important to take part in international discussions in this field. There still remains a lot of work to do before glass is perceived as a modern artform. As a material, glass is tremendously expressive, Majuri tells us.
Her works are currently on display in the international modern art exhibition in Venice. The Italian Glass Weeks organised in autumn are an important event for artists in this field. Majuri hopes that Finnish modern glass art would gain more recognition globally.
– A year ago, I persuaded eight Finnish glass artists to hold a joint exhibition in Venice. Cooperation between glass studios is a rare occurrence as everyone is accustomed to focusing on their own work and nothing else. My aim has been to shake things up a bit and remind people that Wirkkala and Sarpaneva are not the only Finnish names in this corner of art.
Majuri sees herself first and foremost as an adventurer and destroyer of barriers. She started in the world of fashion and ended up working with glass. Majuri studied ceramic and glass design in the University of Art and Design Helsinki and has worked as an artist and designer since 2008.
– Skill is a need that is very essentially linked with humanity, something that exists in us at the cellular level. Just think about the development of civilisation, and how important doing things with our hands has always been for us. There is a certain kind of resonance when you are working with glass materials, Majuri says.
Majuri’s art reflects our times
The theme of future for this year’s Finnish Craft & Design fair intrigues Majuri.
– Future is not easy to define. Sometimes we forget that time moves forward. The future is made especially fascinating by its uncertainty. This is what gives life its worth, she adds.
Via her art, Sini Majuri wants to process issues that are central to her right there and then, in the moment.
– Art reflects this time at a deeper level. In my work, I want to concentrate on things that hold meaning. Glass materials enable me to reach immaterial levels and types of significance that are challenging to express verbally. You can see yourself reflected in glass. This creates a space where you can attain something delicate, describes Majuri.
What makes glass interesting for Majuri is its unpredictability and wild nature that can sometimes take you by surprise.
– It starts as hot lava and then it begins to settle into its shape. Working with glass is a process for which there is no ready formula – it is something you achieve only by relying completely on your instincts. You can try and recreate an identical copy of a unique sculpture, but it is just not possible. This adds even further value to the work.