Spotlight: A Conversation with Tali Grinsphan

[Susan Longini]

SJL: Please give some background so we know something about you.

TG: Born in Israel, I grew up in a suburb of Tel Aviv. I loved playing outdoors with my friends. We invented imaginary worlds, building vehicles and houses from found objects and spending much of our time in the nearby park.

My parents wanted me to learn about the world, so we made many trips to Western Europe as well as the United States and Canada. From these travels, I developed my love for and curiosity about cultures, history, and maps.




I earned my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Business and Psychology from Tel Aviv University. During this time, I was also working as a flight attendant, pursuing my love for travel and exploration while supporting myself and paying my school tuition.

In 2004, looking for adventure and wanting to experience another culture in depth, I moved to the United States. I live with my husband and two sons in Walnut Creek, CA

SJL: How did you become involved in art, glass, and pate de verre in particular?

TG: I have always loved to work with my hands. I have explored a variety of media, including ceramics, wood, metals, enamels and fabric. 

In 2011, I attended glass fusing and flame working classes at a civic art center in Walnut Creek. Though we only met one night each week, I realized quickly that I was falling in love with this colorful and diverse medium.




I discovered pate de verre in 2013 when I saw the beautiful work of Alicia Lomne. I began experimenting with this method, exploring many concepts, including the fragility and strength of the actual material.

 SJL: What guides your artistic philosophy?

TG: While making art, I live in the mystery of the creative process, as I connect deeply to my internal world and the world around me. Art is a journey, allowing me to explore and express many emotions, such as joy, sorrow, hope, confusion, and love.

Art nourishes me. Through art I share my story with others.

My dreams, music, books, nature, and memories inspire me. The ever-changing life of landscape inspires me: in particular, that of my homeland, Israel, and of my present home, Northern California.

William Blake, Pablo Neruda and Mary Oliver inspire me by how they connect their emotional and spiritual worlds.

I have special memories of standing before the paintings of Claude Monet and Gustav Klimt as a young person. I could feel my heart open. These masters touched the part of me that has become an artist.

The glass art of Judy Tuwaletstiwa and Sibylle Peretti provokes and nourishes my imagination.




SJL: You have several bodies of work. Can you discuss them?

TG: My new series is called "Of Innocence and Experience" (2016). Exploring the passage of time, the fragility of nature, and the ephemerality of life, I create forms that burn out in the kiln: Images alive from the past speak with the transient present to create pieces that hold the spirit of what once existed. This body of work explores my journey as an immigrant, friend, child, wife, mother, and artist.

Jewish rituals inform "Rituals" (2015). Through the process of making these vessels, I deepened my connection to my heritage. Each piece tells a story that binds history to the present moment through a secret I have placed in it. When I hold one of these vessels, I also hold its secret, knowing I can keep it or let it go.


Secrets I


The Dead Sea Scrolls inspired "Secrets" (2014). As I viewed them at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the ancient story they silently told touched me deeply. A different text lies in each of my scrolls: the only way to read that text is to destroy the glass scroll.


Secrets IV


SJL: You recently had a solo show at the Abrams Claghorn Gallery in Albany. What is the effect of a solo show on your work going forward?

TG: Seeing my pieces in the gallery environment gave me a different perspective than I had living with them in my studio. Discussing my work with others also informed me, shifting my perceptions. As I work quietly in my studio, it is encouraging to know that work might go out into the world.

SJL: What are you currently working on?

TG: I work on multiple projects simultaneously. I am expanding my existing body of work while exploring concepts for a new series related to the theme of “home” and the intimate connections we create with people and objects.

Tashlich (To Cast Away)

Last October, I participated in an artist’s residency at North Lands Creative Glass in Northern Scotland. I became totally immersed in the beautiful and rugged terrain, the rich and ancient culture and the prehistoric landmarks. In a word, it was “magical.” I am still processing this profound experience: in time, work will grow out of it.

SJL: Where can we see your work?

TG: My art will be part of a group show, "For the Love of Glass", at the Marietta Cobb Museum of Art in Atlanta. The show will run from April 8 - June 18, 2017. 

SJL: Anything else you want to tell us?

TG: I look forward to collaborating with other artists who use different techniques in glass and working with artists from other mediums.


Tikun (To Mend)