Srila Mookher­jee

India Today - - HOME CONCEPT -

Be it a bul­bous dew­drop- shaped vase in black and white or ir­reg­u­lar- formed pieces made out of free­blown multi- coloured crys­tal glass, Kolkata- based artist Srila Mookher­jee’s de­signs force a sec­ond glance from on­look­ers. Ex­pert at ma­nip­u­lat­ing the molten sub­stance, her an­thro­po­mor­phic cre­ations have an In­dian con­nec­tion as she uses vark— the beaten gold and sil­ver leaf— that em­bel­lishes most In­dian sweets. In­spired by na­ture, Mookher­jee’s works range from bot­tles, vases, bowls and plat­ters in colours such as li­lac, blue, grey, bright ma­genta, smoky citrine and deep red, to brown and light green. Be­ing In­dia’s first woman glass- blower, she got in­tro­duced to the art dur­ing a fam­ily va­ca­tion in Italy where she watched Vene­tian glass artists at work. Later, she spe­cialised in ceram­ics at the Na­tional In­sti­tute of De­sign ( NID), Ahmed­abad and also ap­pren­ticed in Fin­nish La­p­land, first with Pen­tik, ce­ramic table­ware man­u­fac­tur­ers and then with Eiropaja, a pot­tery stu­dio. She also trained to be a glass­blower un­der the fa­mous ves­sel- maker An­thony Stern in Lon­don. On her re­turn to Kolkata in 1987, she set up her stu­dio Aakriti which makes some of the best lyri­cal cre­ations in glass. Talk­ing about the ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing with glass, she says, “Each of the in­ter- de­pen­dent dis­ci­plines of art, craft and de­sign play a role in my work, each in­volv­ing a dif­fer­ent way of think­ing. While art em­pha­sises ideas, feel­ings and vis­ual qual­i­ties, craft high­lights the use of tools and ma­te­ri­als, and the fi­nal de­sign evolves at the plan­ning, prob­lem- solv­ing and com­ple­tion stages.” She loves work­ing with colours and shapes and is ex­cited to see re­sults as they hap­pen, as with this ma­te­rial, un­pre­dictabil­ity is the only cer­tainty.

An ir­reg­u­lar formed bowl in shades of blue ( above); bot­tle with porce­lain stop­per in­spired by na­ture ( left)

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