Maya Husseini, a stained-glass designer, has spent almost three decades creating intricate art.
Explaining the difficulty of working with such a fragile material, Husseini says, “To work with glass is a real challenge. The material urges us to conduct extensive research, especially when it comes to finding what other materials it reacts with best. As such, there is always an element of surprise and unpredictability related to thermoforming. In the furnace, where the glass takes the shape of the mold, the painting can reveal some unexpected results compared to those results achieved when combined with other materials.”
The surprises that continued to come Husseini’s way only strengthened her resolve and passion for a craft that was, to a degree, unorthodox. During the early 1990s, she fully immersed herself in glass making, more specifically, stained glass. “I began participating in professional exhibitions where I met with architects and private individuals. What I found interesting was that every exhibition I took part in and each project I worked on taught me that there was no one way of doing things since, every day, you create something entirely new.”
Husseini recalls that although being one of the first women in Lebanon to work with glass meant she could pursue the profession with greater freedom, customers did not always believe in her ability. This changed with time as Husseini’s name became better known, as did her incredible work. “Stained glass using glassblowing on the windows of the Nicolas Sursock Museum has been one of my most memorable projects. Another was the work I undertook for the Saint Louis of the Capuccins Cathedral in Downtown Beirut. The stained glass windows, which I designed, took almost two years to complete.”
It is clear that Husseini’s passion is mirrored by a deep sense of pride for the origins of her craft. “Glass is a rich material and should not be forgotten. It was in Tyre during the Phoenician era that the first glass-blowers were born and I plan to use my workshop to teach young furniture designers and architects how to include glass in their work to uphold this important tradition in contemporary creation.”