Born in Milan and raised in Pavia, Italy, multidisciplinary artist Giuse Maggi, draws inspiration from the susceptibility of organic and inorganic materials and their potential to manipulate, shape, form and introduce her to new techniques for creation.
Working with glass for over two decades, it was only in 2013 that she became aware of the impressionability of sustainable art and the limitless possibilities that found materials, discarded matter and plastic waste, offered. Since then, she has tirelessly experimented with combining plastic, metal and fibre with her beloved medium, glass, whereby she weaves, ties, melts and binds these contradictory materials together.
The process is one of intense labour, often physically and mentally demanding, yet, Giuse also considers it spiritual; a series of rituals that connect her soul to her pieces. She patiently builds and forms objects that are created through an accumulation of countless small actions. Her resulting paintings, rugs, baskets and sculptures, inherent of opposing properties, epitomize how balance derives from duality and represent how beauty arises once we see the value in the discarded and the neglected.
Giuse Maggi graduated from Pavia (Italy) in 1983 with an MA in Geology. Following this, she studied ceramic and glass making in both Italy and the USA. She has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan and Italy. She currently lives in Bahrain where she works as a full-time artist.
Tatooine Series, vase, coiled silk and fused glass (Image Courtesy - Giuse Maggi)
Dea: What do textiles mean to you?
Giuse: Textiles play a very important role in my artistic career. Since I was a child I have been surrounded by fabrics because of my mother’s tailoring activity. I used to play with it and my imagination was interwoven to colors, textures, patterns and above all, I was fascinated by the playability of textiles that allowed me to transform a cloth into a cape, a dress or a magic carpet.
Dea: What’s your background and what led you to working with textiles?
Giuse: I am based in Bahrain where I work as a freelance artist. I am a geologist by education but I have always been interested in artistic activities such as pottery and glass-fusing. Since 1993, I run a glass studio. Glass is my artistic medium and I like to combine it with other materials. The way to do this is very much based on techniques of weaving, stitching, knotting, coiling... therefore, textiles!
Haute Couture Series, Vase, Coiled silk and fused glass (Image Courtesy - Giuse Maggi)
Dea: What’s your creative process like?
Giuse: I start from a conceptual idea; I select materials by physical proprieties and the most appropriate technique to work with. I sketch several ideas in order to identify details and technical solutions. It is very much a combination of artistic intuition and scientific approach.
Dea: Are you working on any interesting projects right now?
Giuse: Since months I am exploring how to combine my fused glass with fibers to create a sort of playable textile. The result is a series of soft sculptures where glass and fiber are interwoven. I am using natural fibers (mainly palm leaves and cotton from my garden) as well as silk, linen and polyester fabrics that I have collected in my journeys. Coiled fabrics or fibers around the edges of the glass vessel enlarge and transform the original shape of a bowl into an organic presence or into a traditional landmark of the Bahrain heritage.
Tatooine Series, vessel, Coiled silk and fused glass (Image Courtesy - Giuse Maggi)
Dea: Is there a specific piece or project you are proud of?
Giuse: The Tatooine Baskets Series is my favorite (pictured above). I am very satisfied by the balance I reached between shape and texture and the blending of contrasting colors (transparent for the glass and opaque for the fabric) that flow into each other creating a one-of-a-kind work.
Dea: Is there a message or cause linked to your work?
Giuse: My task is to create harmony between light, color, the richness of the materials and the environments where my works are placed. Reaching this balance I am able to surprise and connect with the public. “Making” becomes a spiritual process, a ritual of purification linking my soul to objects.
Sadu Wall Hanging, Knotted recycled T-shirts (Image Courtesy - Giuse Maggi)
Dea: Do you have any tips for people currently working at home? Any DIY ideas?
Giuse: If you can, take care of your mind and your body, enjoy nature, contemplate the sky and pay attention to the little things. I like recycling, and my suggestion is to take old t-shirts and to transform them into a wall hanging (pictured above)!
Dea: Any tips for aspiring creatives?
Giuse: Experiment as much you can and keep records of this activity.
Wow, we had an incredible time finding out about Giuse, her fascinating artworks, and the rich cultural and spiritual meaning behind them! A great tip for new and aspiring creatives - always keep a journal or record of your creative experiments, you don't know when they'll spark inspiration in the future!
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