Míra Dávida: Flameworking with true intent

Architerior talked to glass artist Míra Dávida, who is originally from Budapest but now based in Stockholm. Míra shared an insight into her flameworking process and how she found her way through the artistic landscape. We discussed her current exhibition at Konstfack in Stockholm, and how day dreaming helps the creative process.

The Konstfack Craft exhibition is open until 31st March. Metro: Telefonplan.

How did you find your way into art?

I come from an artistic family. My parents are both trained musicians. I was good at music but had no patience for practicing piano, I just wanted to draw people and imaginary things, and make clay snakes and paint them. They encouraged me to pursue art and it was always a very important part of my life, so much that I could never picture myself without it. Later on, I got accepted to a secondary school where I could learn glass making. It was really challenging and I didn’t even know what to do with it, I just started to put lots of effort in it and trusted that it will lead me somewhere. I think I can thank glass for what I have now. It led me to some amazing places, one of which is Stockholm, where I am currently studying glass art.

Was education in art a part of your journey to become an artist?

Yes, of course. I think it always is. Obviously, learning the techniques of making something and realizing your imagination is one thing that education is good for, but the atmosphere of an art school is also a very important deal. I think lots of artistic kids feel a little bit like an outsider when being in a regular classroom. It is a relief to have like minded people around you, with whom you have common interests and can learn an incredible amount from. Also, when you have the chance to learn something specific, like glass or ceramics, carpentry of jewelry making, it is not only a material that you study but also how to manage projects, how to formulate your own visual world and expression.

What techniques do you use?

I use flameworking (aka lampworking) and glass casting. I also blow glass when I have the chance and I love to paint.

How would you define your art style?

Organic, sublime, creepy, maximalist, corporeal, and botanically inspired.

Which artists or art styles have inspired you?

The things I find inspiring are Art Nouveau or Secession Movement (Viennese, Belgian), Japanese paintings and porcelain wares, Arabic calligraphy and geometrical architecture, Czech contemporary glass art, botanical photography and so on…

Artworks by Míra Dávida.

Is there something in particular that you wish to convey to the viewer through your work?

The self-reflective nature of viewing art and the self-knowledge through the process of creation.

When starting on a new artwork, what goes through your head? How does your planning and creation process look like?

I am a very spontaneous worker, I come up with something and just make a quick sketch before making it. I don’t really think so much about the design, but I do think through the technical steps so that there is no obstacle in the process. Flameworking is especially a good technique for this kind of process, because it doesn’t require much preparation. Sometimes it’s troubleshooting, but I don’t mind, because even if I fail to complete something, I always learn a lot about the limitations of my skills or the material, so after all, it’s worth it.

What are you working on right now?

I am working on my masters project at Konstfack in Stockholm. I am making an installation called ‘Imaginature’, which consists of three wall pieces and lots of flameworked creatures. It talks about the reflectiveness of the experience of nature that is made into art. I can’t tell more, I’m not spoiling it!

How has Covid-19 affected you as an artist?

I was about to finish my Bachelor’s degree in Budapest, so I wasn’t happy when I couldn’t enter the workshops anymore. But what was a huge headache back then, became a pleasant adventure. Two weeks before the lockdown, we got a new teacher for flameworking who offered us to come to his studio as interns and practice. Me and my friend ended up learning a lot about neon making techniques, and the use of different equipment. A year later I finished my degree and it was all about neons!

Inspiration is important when creating, where do you find inspiration?

My go-to place for inspiration is sitting on the bus, listening to music. I read somewhere that it is scientifically proven that when you do something like an automatic activity which requires little attention (sitting on the bus or showering) you let a part of your brain roam freely and fantasize about things besides your consciousness. I am a huge daydreamer so I was definitely happy to be validated this way ?

Detail of artwork by Míra Dávida.

How do you define “good” art?

I think that “good” art is not defined by anything else than the authenticity of the message. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a conceptual piece, sometimes the way something is made can tell a lot more than a thousand big words. I think people, even laymen can feel if something came to be with true intent. I dare to say that with the modern capitalization of the art market, there is less and less truly good art.

What are the best things about being an artist?

The freedom to express yourself, the strong connection to a higher reality, the flow, the routine of the process and the ability to contribute to something meaningful in a way.

What are the worst things about being an artist?

The recurring artistic crisis of not having a “normal job” where you make money monthly or by the hour. You have to work instantaneously and not have any results. It is also not even an entrepreneurship where you “sell goods” but you’re selling your creative and/or physical work and have constant doubts whether anyone will take or appreciate it. I think this is a deal breaker for a lot of artists.

Míra Dávida

Are there any special moments in your art career that you’d like to share – moments that perhaps brought you forward, gave you clarity or changed you?

I’ve spent four months as an exchange student in Jerusalem and we went on a field trip with the ceramics and glass department. It was on the outskirts of the city and we slept in one big wooden cabin. During the day there were workshops but we had a lot of free time as well, so I went to hike a little by myself. I was already overwhelmed by being in a place like Israel and Jerusalem, which are full of culturally shocking things and incredibly significant places. I went up a hill where there were lots of different stone ruins which I could just climb on and walk around freely. Nobody cared about this place. Nobody guarded it. I later found out that this was the remains of an ancient city that is still not excavated due to the lack of funds and manpower. I walked on thousands of years of history just like that. I had a small catharsis and a breakdown at the same time over feeling like I understood “it all”, a moment of feeling history happen. I went back to the cabin and saw the news about the Notre Dame burning down. It was spooky.

What does it mean to you to be able to work with art?

It’s my whole life, basically. I hope I can do it as much as I can.

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