Anjali Sunderam’s Henna-like Glass Art

It’s the perfect storm of reporting — you go to cover one story, and you discover another in the process. I’ve recently started covering the local food scene for Arlington Magazine (which also covers Falls Church and McLean), which brought me to the McLean home of Vikram Sunderam, the renowned chef of the Rasika restaurants in DC. Look for that story in the magazine this summer, but in the process of interviewing the chef, I also met his gracious wife, Anjali.

As it turns out, Vikram’s is not the only creative force in this home. We ended up chatting after the interview, and Vikram took the opportunity to brag on her glass art. Glass art??

bluevase

Yeah, glass art. Anjali paints all manner of glasses, vases, bowls and votives—free hand—in designs inspired by classical Indian henna design. Her work is extraordinarily beautiful.

summervases

 

votives

 

She explained that she happened into this pursuit accidentally, when they were living in London and she stopped working briefly to stay home after she had her first child. She picked up some do-it-yourself stained glass panels at a hobby shop, and soon caught the bug for decorating glass. “My family ate a lot of jams and jellies that I convinced were very good for them because I needed the jars to paint!” she says.

And then when she was planning a birthday party for her daughter, she decided to paint mugs with the children’s names as party favors. “The next day, every mother called and said ‘Thank you for such a thoughtful mug.'” Next thing she knew, a Mom was asking her to make a mug for her husband, and then more people starting calling with requests. The rest is history.

Anjali Sunderam at her kitchen-table workshop in McLean

Anjali Sunderam at her kitchen-table workshop in McLean

She continued to work her craft once the family moved to the area from London in 2007, which allowed her to keep a flexible schedule so she could still be there for her son and daughter as they were growing up. “I’m a good Mom, but this is something I do for myself.”

The projects she’s currently working on are in spring and summer colors. She buys clear-glass vessels, paints them in translucent background colors, and then overlays them with raised designs in silver and gold.

worktable

 

halfbowls

 

Her commissions include spice jars for Rasika.

Her commissions include spice jars for Rasika.

 

The back of the Rasika spice jar (this is the one Anjali gave to me!) is painted with the tree of life.

The back of the Rasika spice jar (this is the one Anjali gave to me!) is painted with the tree of life.

 

She did these vases as a graduation gift to a Virginia Tech student.

She did these vases as a graduation gift to a Virginia Tech student.

Anjali sells her creations at several local craft fairs under the name Sovereign Treasures—just “like” her Facebook page to keep track of where she’ll be next.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for posting these pictures. I’ve always been a fan of glass art. It’s really cool how you’ve used henna inspired designs to create these glass vases. My favorite are the mason jars that at the top of the post. The henna design used for the blue jar is my favorite out of these three jars. I’m sure that these colorful jars would look great with flowers in them.