“Creativity is experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having Fun.” – Mary Lou Cook, Actress.
Glass, though fragile is fascinating to look at! History of glass-making dates back to the ancient Mesopotamia, some 3600 years ago. It was then extensively popularized and developed in Egypt and Assyria as a decorative and functional element. It was used to make beads, jewellery and fine dining pieces and more. In the middle ages, the art of using glass or Glass Art took new shape. The Norman and Gothic Cathedrals in Europe used stained glasses as a major architectural and decorative element to accentuate the beauty of these Cathedrals. Glass from Murano, Venetia, known as just Venetian Glass, is a result of years of continuous experiments, refinements and defines glass in its full glory. The early 19th century saw the old art glass movement at its peak with great Studios or Ateliers like Tiffany, Lalique, Daum and Galle taking it to new levels.
Hardwork and Persistence Personified
To give glass its defining or creative form, it must go through extremities that shape and design it. These high temperatures and pressure might be extreme but it helps glass to come out in its glorious form. Similar is the story of Glass Artist, Moiz Arsiwala who achieved his dreams after going through life’s refinery. He is what the world describes as a creative person – ambitious, experimenter, learner, risk taker, rule-breaker and above all hard worker. And like many artists, he too has an inspiration or muse – Glass. Moiz’s love for glass started as a child. His family was associated with glass and it works for 85 years in Mumbai. A change of place brought a change in lives. They shifted to Bangalore and his father left the ancestral work. Moiz, who had developed a fascination with glass, kept asking his father to start afresh, but his father insisted on him having a formal education first.
Years changed, and so did Moiz’s qualification, but what did not change was his passion for glass. At the crossroads, to start a corporate job as per his father’s wish, or choose glass art as per his wish, Moiz did sit for several interviews. But deep inside, he knew, he was not going to work under anyone. He was meant to lead, create, innovate, try, experiment, and was sure to work hard for it.
His perseverance won over his father who agreed but suggested him to get some experience first. Moiz approached a school in Istanbul, Turkey which was going to have a course in Glass Sculpting by Vladimir Klein. Thus, life took an interesting turn for him.
Istanbul – An Artist’s Delight
Moiz describes Istanbul as a city of art and a place which gave him life’s best experience. He took all that the city had to offer. He learnt the techniques of seeing the glass differently, working on it differently, have a keen eye on the perfection of the final finishing and more. His first sculpture was a Qibla inspired from Al Jame Al Azhar Masjid in Cairo, Egypt (which coincidentally is the first masjid to be made in Cairo), and wished to present it to His Holiness – Late Dr Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin Saheb, TUS. And he did it, the piece was presented and in return, he was bestowed with a lifetime of blessings, which Moiz says, “I can feel and experience on a daily basis.”
He then joined a Glass Industry in Nagpur to learn the tricks and the trade and whatever he could about general glass and how the glass system in general, functions. Yet, that was not what he wanted to do eventually. Moiz adds, “I wanted to do something different, and something which I would enjoy working on.”
Isra – The Fateful Journey
Isra is the Night Journey that the Prophet took to the heavens and is said to have met Allah. Isra is thus the symbolic journey that one takes to realize their goal and dreams. For Moiz, the word describes the culmination point of his journey so far. All his hard work, learning, passion, transpired into Isra Glass, his own company, his baby!
Initially, he just started by taking orders of any type of glass, got the job done from other vendors, and supplied the glass. But, he wanted to do something more, something different. The skill which he had learnt in Istanbul, was not getting utilized in this kind of market. He says, “I guess there was no place for art, and I realized people don’t appreciate art, because good glass art, is expensive, and people would not spend on glass art just for keeping in a showcase.” After a few months, he came across a material which was solid glass pillars and columns, and it immediately struck him, that this material is fancy, it is artistic, and it has a utility. While his well-wishers advised him to abstain from trying something different, Moiz wanted to give it a try. A simple hand machine, small go-down and lots of self-belief saw him cut the solid glass pillar and transform it into a piece of art. He went to shops of other glass dealers, informed them and promoted this customization and artistry.
Word spread, the popularity of the art increased, and Isra was flooded with orders. Moiz now needed hands, to cope up to fulfil of same day and 24-hour delivery commitment. He then started training a team and showed them the quality of the end result which must be achieved. Slowly and steadily, Moiz and Isra Glass had found their ground.
The Exclusive Products
Isra Glass has five products under its brand.
• Vetropole Glass Pillars: Beautiful, decorative glass pillars used mainly as dividers or room partitions in homes. They are also customizable to create staircase balusters, table legs, handles, ceiling art, staircase landings, mementoes and innumerable possibilities. A coloured LED light when placed on top or bottom of the pillar, lights up the tiny bubbles in the pillar with the colour of the light, giving an impression of bubbles suspended in a liquid and making them mesmerizing.
• Coralli Blown Glass Art: The Coralli range of hand blown glass art is a unique collection of decorative pieces that when grouped together & indirectly lit from the front or sides, add special energy of natural design into space. Available in different colours & textures, these coral shaped art pieces can be used as wall art, ceiling art, lamp art or art murals.
• Aura Solid Glass Bricks: Colorful Aurora night lights seen at Polar Regions are captured in the Aura Solid Glass Brick. They are beautiful inner wall or a partition design solution in vibrant colours. The subtle design in brick accents the touch of style, colour & character. They come in standard sizes making them fit for both interior and exterior applications.
• Luminorra Glow Mirrors: Luminorra Glow Mirror is a Patent Pending innovation by Moiz, and is a fascinating piece of new-age technological art. It can be used to create an illusion of larger living space, by placing it in strategic locations. It can furnish one’s home with an instant facelift, turning it brighter, bigger and fascinating! Purely a luxury product, it comes in a variety of shapes and forms with a range of features and in seven unique types.
Touch: A touch on the mirror will illuminate the design within the mirror
Demist: A feature for steam free mirrors
Punctual: A LED clock built into the mirror
Jazz: A Bluetooth enabled feature to pair any device and play favorite tracks
Connect: A feature which has all of the above and with a small screenshowing calendar, FM, USB and answering calls from the mirror.
Infinity: A décor mirror with an 3D illusion of infinity
Mini: A portable vanity mirror which doubles as a table lamp
- MoizArt Hand Crafted Glass: The glass which is handcrafted, or made by Moiz personally, is sold with MoizArt branding. He says, “A lot of glass, mirrors, paperweights, mementoes are made by me. This is the art I enjoy the most since I make it personally and take the orders one at a time. There is actually a wait list for the work I carry out since each art piece is created differently.”
The Industry – Challenges and Promises
Moiz believes that one must enter an industry with full conviction and not as a half-hearted attempt. His business is defined by his passion and it pains him to see people being in the Glass Industry just for the sake of it. They have no knowledge of glass and are dependent on others for surviving. This hurts the overall market most, since such businesses don’t value the art, and just sell glass art as a product. As long as their other mainstream sales are ticking, they sell glass art at an averaged out price, which most of the times is under cost for mainstream glass businesses. Moiz says, “Business should maintain, continue and expand in their mainstream businesses, or have an ethical way of valuing the art, by doing a thorough research of what the art demands, and how it would be valued in the eyes of the customer.”
And this is exactly what he advises the young in the business. He tells them that business is very satisfying, and even more satisfying if performed with utmost sincerity, being passionate about the product you are trading with, and ethics. He reminds them, “Do not get attracted to short term gains. They are short term for a reason. The slower you grow, the stronger will be the foundation.”
He also shares his experience as an entrepreneur. He feels that challenges are part of the journey for any Entrepreneur. Be it things like skilled labour, logistics, administration, marketing or sales, there are challenges. But as an Entrepreneur, there is a roleplay in every department. The lesser one depends on others, the more involved one will be, and the more involved one is, the more one can overcome challenges.
Crafting the Future Roads
Moiz’s aim is to provide good quality glass solutions in Hotels and resorts, with regards to either Vetropole, or the Luminorra LED Mirrors. His eventual goal is to go global by 2020. Isra Glass is already exporting occasionally to countries like Australia, UAE, Africa, etc. and he would like to streamline the sales and communication channel and venture out more. Moiz prefers doing business being connected to his end clientele. Looking forward to the future, he adds, “I don’t want to drastically expand in a way where I would be dependent on others to attend to my clients. Hence I keep looking out for great tools, and automation machines to enhance the quality of workmanship and shorten delivery time, so that I would get time to attend my clients, and more time creating and innovating too.”
Lesson of a Lifetime
Important lesson from my Grandfather:
“Lead a simple lifestyle in your home, but do business with utmost grandeur, brilliance & sincerity.”
Important lesson from my Father:
“Toys are nice, but it can’t satisfy a hungry stomach; but food can. Let’s buy some good food for our family instead.”
“People can steal any materialistic thing from you, but they can’t steal your knowledge.”
“Others might copy my products, my ideas, my techniques, even my style, but they can’t copy my passion for glass art.”
Thank you & Gratitude:
“Whatever I am today is because of my father. He trusted me and allowed me to take decisions for my company, on my own. I learnt a lot from small important mistakes to avoid big mistakes in the future. His guidance and support on a day to day basis is immeasurable in my life. His experiences, lessons and historic quotes sail me through many day to day tasks and tough decisions.”