Would you call your work a craft or art?
I have three criteria for everything I do in my life: what I do, how I do it, and why I do it. If I only master skills, I can imitate things. If I do it well, I'm a good artisan. If I know why I do it, I create meaning, an idea – then it is art.
What techniques do you use the most?
As well as traditional engraving and cutting, I apply stone sculpting techniques on my sculptures. I use a chisel and hammer, and I grind and polish the glass with a flexible shaft grinder. So the whole process consists of the object remaining still and me moving around it.
© Jiri Koudelka - Javstudio
It sounds a little risky…
It's quite an adventure. Working with glass in its cold state boosts adrenalin because a crack can spoil everything. But setbacks are useful too. I recycle the material or use parts of it cut with a waterjet. It's economical, and the accidental shapes are inspiring.
What’s the most memorable experience of your career?
In 1991 I was invited to teach at the Institute of Glass Art in Japan. I found myself in utterly new conditions. I was overwhelmed by the foreign language, culture and environment. So art became my main means of communication. Thanks to it, I evolved like a child.