Stained glass artist and founder of 'Sea Green Glass', Hassina Khan's accidental discovery of this traditional craft soon turned into her passion and eventually her business. We spoke to Hassina to find out about her creative journey, what she loves about working with glass, and the things that inspire her.
Hassina in her studio. Image by Nick Ilott.
Glass art is relatively new adventure for you, how are you finding the change in career/lifestyle?
I’m loving it. I feel as if I’ve finally found my medium. I’ve always been a maker – prop-making was always the best part of being a professional stage manager for me - but since moving into arts education I’d really only done domestic-type making (knitting, sewing, cake decorating etc) and never been satisfied with my results. Now that I’m working with glass I’ve cut down my freelance cultural learning work and, to be honest, struggling to get on and do it. I’d far rather be in the studio.
How did you discover glass art?
By accident! I’d been wanting to try mosaic-making for several years and, inspired by seeing all Gaudi’s work in Barcelona, I decided to book onto a course at Assington Mill. Unfortunately it was full. However, there were places on a stained glass course, so I did that instead and I haven’t looked back since.
Exploring the coast for sea glass.
Some of your pieces include sea glass collected from the Suffolk coast; do you seek inspiration from nature and the landscapes where you live?
Definitely from nature but less so from the landscape. I love detail and my natural way of working seems to be small, so my work is often quite intricate and detailed, rather than broad and sweeping. I make leaves and flowers and I often use curves and waves. You’ll rarely find a straight line in my work. I also use gaps in my work, spaces between the glass which add another dimension.
What do you enjoy most about the creative process of working with glass?
It’s a very process-heavy medium which suits my way of working. Having said that, I most enjoy cutting the glass and creating the actual design. I can spend (waste?) hours trying different bits of glass next to each other to get the piece ‘just right’. I least enjoy soldering it all together – I find it really hard. But I still get that thrill when I pick up a piece after it’s all been soldered and I see it as a whole for the first time.
Do you have a best seller or a favourite product to make?
Not really. In terms of small pieces, different things sell in different places and at different times. And each piece I make is different – even if it’s the same design, the glass will be different. And my larger pieces are mostly one-offs, I rarely repeat them as I either get bored or realise I could do some bit of it better.
Cutting glass. Image by Nick Ilott.
What small businesses or brands are you loving at the moment?
I love Saffron Grove’s bags – she uses lots of beautiful fabric in bright colours which appeal to me, likewise Sasha Garrett’s fordite jewellery. I also like Yvonne Elston Ceramics’ 2D birds and Sllips’ ceramic sheep, because they make me smile. And who doesn’t like Dylan Pym’s beautiful steam-bent furniture? And I am obsessed with Lucy & Yak’s clothes – if I could afford it I’d have their midi-pinis in every colour!
I mostly work in silence – I love the quiet. But sometimes I’ll put on a radio drama to make soldering a bit more bearable!