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Elinor Portnoy

MA work

Shifting Sands

Seeking to explore the origins of glass, my work refers to the elements glass is comprised of. Initially, my intention was to collect varieties of sand from a unique geological feature in the desert where I grew up. I reminisced about a childhood experience where we’d fill old glass bottles with layers of coloured sand to resemble the crater’s stratified earth. However, I found out that the site is now a reservation prohibiting soil collection, in part because of its archeological importance. In contemplating the dwindling of natural resources, I considered how natural elements can be crafted. I fused layers of glass powder using ceramic moulds, inspired by the glass bottles of my childhood. This produces objects that evoke futuristic artificial elements of nature and the processes of natural formation.


  • MA Degree


    School of Humanities


    MA Ceramics & Glass, 2016

  • During most of my career, I’ve studied and practiced product design, and through my work I’ve discovered how a deep understanding of materials and processes can help find new and exciting possibilities for making objects that offer a new perspective. So I came to study Ceramics & Glass at the Royal College of Art hoping that as a designer I could bring a novel approach to the world of craft. 

    Through these studies, I have learned how to channel my creativity through glass in particular. I use craft methods to experiment with processes and materials, and these experiments lead to observations that stir up my imagination and evoke ideas for objects that demonstrate the qualities of the material and the making. On the spectrum of art and design, I aim to find balance which produces objects that have meaningful contexts, functions or stories. I see my role in seeking to narrate these stories in the most elegant and sophisticated way I can.

  • Degrees

  • BA Industrial Design, Holon Institute of Technology, Holon, Israel, 2010
  • Awards

  • The Royal Overseas League of Music, Trophy Award, 2016; The Grocers Company bursary, 2015; Sue Bradford Hauberg Scholarship for Pilchuck glass school, 2015; Pilkingtons award, 2015