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Kira Phoenix K’Inan and the Future of Craft

It’s the UN’s International Year of Glass, and we’re in the midst of the second edition of our celebrated event, The Future of Craft Exhibition, at Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, as part of the London Craft Week.

Here’s the second of our two interviews on glass at London Craft Week, with Kira Phoenix K’Inan. (The first with Michèle Oberdieck is here.)

Design-Nation: What work are you showing at The Future of Craft?

Kira: The Superposition series is a very new body of work exploring surfaces, including interior, exterior and the inbetween, as well as the act of combining components one on top of the other. Each work contains nine individually fired layers of glass and then combines them together to create a free standing glass sculpture.

These sculptures are being shown in a group over two plinths. The aim of my display is to show them interacting with each other and the space in which they are displayed. The choice of showing mainly clear glass works is to allow these pieces to interact with light and reflect back the colours that surround them. I am also including four small colourful Superposition work in blue, green, pink and red.

D-N: Tell us a little about the ideas and processes involved.

K.P.K: Every so often I put a little glass test idea into the kiln with other works that are being fired, to see what will happen. The Superposition series started with the question, ‘What happens when you fire different sized frit together?’ Glass frit comes in three different sizes, fine frit (the texture is similar to find sand), medium frit (similar to larger salt granules) and coarse frit.

The test showed the interesting shapes the glass colours took as they tried to melt together at 800 degrees Celsius. I decided to lower the kiln temperature to allow the coarse frit pieces to keep their individual shapes. The temperature change allows the glass to interact with light, and if there is a mix of glass colours, they interact with one another. The act of fusing the individual layers together evolved as I wanted to create freestanding works that interact with their surroundings.

D-N: What makes glass special to you? Why do you choose to work with this rather amazing material?

K.P.K: I really enjoy working with glass because it is a material that doesn’t always do what you expect  – and so there is something very exciting about not having full control over the outcome of a work. Glass asks for patience and also gets you used to the concept that not all pieces will survive. This allows for the freedom to keep experimenting and seeing what else you can create. Some of my favourite works that I have made are pieces that push glass into new forms.

D-N: What are your plans for the future?

K.P.K: In February of this year I set up my own studio at Delta House Studios and now have greater flexibility – I am able to make works in a variety of scales in my new KilnCare kiln. This freedom has already enabled me to make the large Superposition piece on display at London Craft Week.

Going forward I am very excited about applying to several shows abroad, glass prizes, and working towards The Other Art Fair, Collect Open and Decorex.

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Clare Edwards


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