During a 2011 lecture by John Moran, Krista Israel had an epiphany. The artist realized that through her art it was possible to offer an opinion on social issues. Thoughts and feelings that are difficult to put into words become one’s voice through the creation of art. To this end, she employs the techniques of casting, flameworking, and pâte de verre, using the natural characteristics of the different glass techniques to express her thoughts, sometimes in combination with other materials such as cloth, computer parts, plastic toys, even a chair.
Israel states: “Glass art doesn’t necessarily have to be shiny and pretty. This material, which is known for those properties, can also be used in a completely different way. For me that was an aha moment, which certainly influenced the series of critical works on social media and rapid technical developments that I made in the following years. In life we go through stages and changes; that also happens in the works you make.” During the pandemic lockdown, Israel’s artistic goals began to shift, and her desire to make work with ironic humor came into focus.
Starting out in her education as pastry chef and later silversmith, neither of those materials made Israel’s heart sing like melting glass rods in a flame. After the initial introduction to flameworking, she studied different techniques at a variety of workshops over a period of five years, while working for the largest bead store in the Netherlands, designing jewelery and giving workshops. In 2005, the artist became aware of the glass art department of the Institute for Art and Crafts (IKA) in Belgium. For almost two years she considered attending, until a visit to the institute convinced her to make the leap.
Graduating with honors from the IKA, Israel received her BFA in glass art in 2013 and MFA in 2016. In addition to the 2022 Saxe Emerging Artist Award from the Glass Art Society, the artist was selected for the Coburger Glas Preis 2022 and 2014, Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg, Germany; nominated for the Dutch glass prize – the Bernadine de Neeve Prize 2021, Association Friends of Modern Glas; received Stipendium 2018, Association Friends of Modern Glass, The Netherlands; received the Originality & Ingenuity exhibition and residency, Liling Ceramic Valley Museum, China, 2017; and received the 10-10-10 Stipendium, academic grant for glass artists, Glass Gallery Aventurine, 2014. Israel designed and produced the 2015 collectors object of the Dutch Association Friends of Modern Glass.
The combination of her unique perspective on the modern world and flameworking techniques that produce a mind-blowing “glass fur,” has put Israel on the map. She has participated in national and international exhibitions in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, China, Poland, the United States and the Netherlands, including: New Glass Now On Tour, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery, USA; New Glass Now, Corning Museum of Glass, USA, 2019; Glass 4 Ever, Gorcums Museum, Netherlands, 2018; Glass Art Society, GAS Members Juried Exhibition, USA, 2017; European Glass Festival, main exhibition Play with Glass: Dr. Jekyll & Mrs. Hyde, Poland, 2016; Tianyuan International Glass Art Festival, Collision & Fission Contemporary Glass Art Invitational Exhibition, China, 2016; Exhibition Coburger Glas Preis, Europaïsch Museum für Modern Glass, Germany, 2014. Her work is represented in public collections, including: Corning Museum of Glass, USA; Liling Ceramic Valley Museum, China; Ernsting Stiftung Glass Museum Alter Hof Herding, Germany; and Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg – Europaisch Museum für Modern Glas, Germany. Her work is represented in the US by Habatat Galleries Detroit, coming soon at Habatat Galleries Florida and Oooit Art in the Netherlands.
Israel is co-founder of the non-profit organization UNexpected Glass. During the International Year of Glass, UNexpected Glass will launch its first exhibition in October 2022, which will be a crossover between glass art, multi-media art with glass and glass innovation from the architectural world and construction industry. Artist and innovation talks and glass demonstrations will also be offered. Check in at www.unexpectedglass.nl which is currently under construction.
Wrote Helene Besancon, curator National Glass Museum: “Krista Israel is a multi-media artist with a main focus on glass. Looking at her work it is like entering a story. The artworks are pleasing to the eye, but there is a layer of bittersweetness in all of them. Her works are in a realistic style, but it is not about the obvious reality. She is an artist who uses a broad variety of techniques, using the natural characteristics of glass to express her thoughts and reflections of the world and people, thus addressing the needs of our well-being. The combination of different techniques and her thoughts make her work complex and intriguing.”