“I like playing with glass,” reads Elena Zaycman’s Instagram bio, but of course, she does much more than that. Based in Saint Petersburg, Zaycman works full time as a stained glass designer, creating diverse stained glass home décor and interior objects, sold through her Etsy shop.
Her pieces, light-catching and luminous, take after natural forms, with her glass objects including butterflies and moths, as well as plants, each delicately made using the Tiffany technique. “When I began working independently, I started with small suspended pieces,” she recalled in an interview with the Etsy blog, “but I wanted to take the idea of hassle-free installation even further and create something where people wouldn’t need to worry about nails or drilling holes in walls.”
After a lot of musing, she came up with an idea for how to neatly attach a stained-glass piece to a brass bar. She then achieved an independent object that could easily be brought into peoples’ homes. Her work also requires special precision which Zaycman ties to her math studies at university. “I appreciate the precision and clarity of exact sciences, and I like how they require perseverance and intense concentration,” she notes. “Having an understanding of geometry is useful in calculating complex shapes.”
Working primarily with glass, it is important for Zaycman to judge the quality of her materials beforehand. “I measure the quality of the glass not only visually, checking for color and cleanliness—or the lack of any extra coating—but also by touching,” she says. “Glass should be pleasant and smooth. For some exotic colors, it’s challenging to find pieces that fit these requirements. I usually purchase glass and other materials in specialized shops in Saint Petersburg, but sometimes it’s necessary to go to Finland if it’s impossible to find something in my city.”
Take a look at some of her unique creations in the gallery below: