When did you discover your talent for working with glass?
In preparation for the secondary art school in Bratislava. I was prepared by a well-known Slovak sculptor and glass artist Ladislav Pagáč, who was a teacher at the newly opened ŠUV sklárská in Lednice
Rovniach. At his instigation, I tried a simple glass technique of scraping a flower study into a glass table. And it was immediately clear - I fell in love with glass. So I decided to go to a high school of glassmaking in Lednice-Rovno. In Bratislava, I continued my studies at the Academy of Fine Arts at the Department of Applied Arts, Department of Glass under the guidance of Juraj Gavul, Milan Opálka and Viktor Oravec.
How do you remember the student years and your "glass" beginnings?
Beautiful memories!!! Under the guidance of the mentioned teacher Ladislav Pagáč, who was also my class teacher at "Šuvka", and Miroslava Zajíčková, I started my creative activity in the field of glass art. At that time, I enjoyed my student years to the fullest and, immersed in my work, I enthusiastically got to know the laws of amazing material, such as glass for me.
You have been processing glass professionally since you were 15 years old, which is relatively early. Shouldn't girls at this age solve other problems than devote themselves to art? How do you see it?
Art as such does not register time and we can perceive and develop it at any age. But specifically working with glass has its specifics and requires concentration and discipline. The glass craft has its laws and technology, that must be respected. Yes, since I was 15 years old, I have been improving professionally and devoting myself to the artistic processing of glass. Well, I actually melted my problems into glass. Notice what a fascinating material glass is. At high temperatures, it flows like "honey", is hot, even conductive, and then turns into a cold solid and at the same time brittle non-conductive mass. It has opposite properties. It is melted by fire and cooled with water.
Your vases, bowls and jewelry are a feast for the eyes. Are you used to just giving them to someone?
Of course, I like to give gifts to my loved ones, those who can perceive not only the material part of the work, but also its spiritual side, which is the essence of my work. Through art, the idea of an intangible spirituality can be expressed in a beautiful way. Art has its speech. Thank you and I'm happy to have people around me who can capture the language of art.
Confess how many of your works you have at home?
At home? As much as I want ... (laughs).
You have had to create hundreds of them over the years. Which one is closest to your heart?
Every single piece I create is my heart. But I have to say that I prefer to donate the best works to loved ones, so I know they are safe. In the right place.
Tell us how long it takes to produce one vase, for example, and what is the most challenging thing for you personally during its creation?
The production of one vase takes about 2-3 weeks. Of course, it depends on what technique is implemented. There are techniques: densely blown glass, painting on glass, grinding glass. For me, grinding glass is the most difficult for a simple reason: I do not tend to cut glass. This is a technique that I have not practically explored in detail. It also requires, as well as blown and painted glass, hours of practice and, as far as the workshop is concerned, full equipment. I work as a designer in the field of blown glass technology. In this type of technique, I use a glass factory that has the equipment to create a given design, e.g. vases. First, based on the inspiration of the idea, I design the shape and then, as a designer, I materialize the idea with the help of prepared designs, we create an idea at the glassworks together with a team of glass craftsmen.
What inspires you in your work?
Since the beginning of my work, I have been inspired by two opposites of yin and yang. I am looking for mutual connections, symbols and connections, confrontation of simplicity and complexity, consciousness and subconsciousness. I perceive glass as a living organic matter that breathes. I develop the secrets of birth, origin and extinction, the endless cycle of life. I put my own philosophical-symbolic messages into my objects.
Glass art requires a lot of patience ... Where do you draw it?
It is true that glass requires patience, as well as any other activity, if we want to achieve a quality result. I have to tell you that I am not patient at all. The glass teaches me on its own. When I get an idea, at that moment I seem to have penetrated another dimension where patience and time do not play a role. Then all I care about is how best to capture and implement the idea. It doesn't matter how long or short the idea needs to go in the development process, but the result must be heard. Although there are sometimes shortcuts, they need to be known very well in order to achieve the final effect. Glass is my teacher.
You are a young artist and you have won many awards. What other goals have you set in your life?
I now turn to the aforementioned spiritual aspect of life, the one on the basis of which my works are created. My next goal is a highly spiritual life path, which I materialize in my works.
Your works are also known abroad ...
Yes, some of them are in the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, Poland, Russia ...
Michala Stehlíková, older interview from 2013