This criminal lawyer turned artist and entrepreneur combines glass pieces with colourful pigments, transforming the unsuspecting transparent specimens into beautifully sparkling stained glass creations.
Started in 2010 by Bangalore-based Saarus Nirhali, Glasshopper aims to revive and build awareness around the original Victorian art of Tiffany-style stained glass. Thriving on innovation and creativity in the areas of stained glass and mosaics, the products are born out of experiments that the Glasshopper team carries out in collaboration with other distinguished artists. A supporter of handmade crafts, Nirhali encourages her clients to seek customized art pieces for their spaces. The common thread that binds these pieces is the meticulous lead work that fuses together intricately cut glass pieces in over 200 colours and textures.
The studio in Indiranagar works with architects and interior designers to beautify homes, offices, restaurants and stores in the city. Additionally, it offers regular courses for artists and enthusiasts alike to learn the art of scoring and cutting glass, grinding and foiling, and finally fusing the pieces together and staining them with colour to design large sun-catchers. Along with their creations, proud students are sent home with a DIY kit for future designs.
From garden charms to glass bead jewelry and massive door panels to Tiffany-style lampshades, Glasshopper showcases a wide array of products for its customers. Glass bottle wind chimes, flowers, butterflies, feathers, owls and other 3D/2D birds also form a part of its catalogue intended for both indoor and outdoor use. A large peacock glass panel adorns the house of a prominent politician in the city. Another client, Olive Beach, displays Glasshopper products as Christmas decorations. Her most challenging project till date is the refurbishment of a damaged life-sized Ganesha panel originally crafted by a senior artist from Mumbai.
Belonging to the Louis Tiffany School of Art which was influential in the 19th century, Nirhali explains, “This is not glass painting. It is an age-old European style, widely popular among the older glass artists.” Ranging from Rs.550 to Rs.70,000 her products were completely sold-out at the recent Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2017 in Mumbai. “To see love in shades and colors, to have sunlight speak to my senses, to bring everyday living to life, is what working with glass means to me,” she explains as she shudders to think what life would be with art and colour.