WORLD WEAVERS –– Rachel Burnstein
If you couldn’t tell, we’re quite fond of all things medieval and one of the lasting gems from this period is stained glass. Yet, while we love the intricate designs of St. Denis, we’ve also fallen hard for Bad Glass, Rachel Burnstein’s playful, modern take on the medium. The designs are fairly simple, but they evoke volumes in our imagination - a wicked queen, a candy castle, an enchanted pool.
Though Rachel is an actual Weaver, she’s been working mostly with stained glass the past couple years and created Bad Glass Shop out of her practice. Each piece is made by hand in her home studio in Los Angeles and each collection is unique from the last. Rachel studied textiles and sculpture at California College of Art as well as The School of The Art Institute of Chicago and has displayed works in galleries on both coasts. Her work explores surrealism, psychedelia, nature and reflection through the mediums of glass and object design.
Can you tell us a little about the art of stained glass and how you got into it?
Stained glass is colored glass that is soldered or attached together – traditionally in a window setting.
On a whim, I signed up for a stained glass class at The Barnsdall Art Center in Los Feliz. I'd always been curious about the medium and The Barnsdall offers (pre-covid) affordable art classes to anyone that braves the early AM lineup to snag a spot. Since then I've been teaching myself and reaching out to other stained glass artists online.
What are your influences?
When it comes to the shape of my mirrors, I find inspiration from surrealism, mid-century furniture and design, as well as organic forms in nature. Color is pretty dependent on my mood for each collection.
What do you hope fate has in store for Bad Glass?
Oh boy, I hope fate has my back! But really I hope to create as much as I can and to keep finding joy in that. I'd really like to see Bad Glass grow, morph and express itself boldly.
What is a nostalgic scent for you?
Strangely, any time I smell an icy night, I think of growing up. I love that smell. Don't get it much in L.A.
What is your favorite tale, fable or myth?
I remember learning about Arachne and Athena in college when I was studying weaving and it stuck with me. You know, a classic tale about a super-charged weaving competition between a goddess and a mortal. Spoiler alert: it doesn't end well for the mortal.