Emily J Cole: A New Town, A New Passion

Featured Artists

How did you get started in glass?

I was lonely! I moved to Richmond, VA from Minneapolis, MN about six years ago, and didnt know a soul. I had a friend back in MN who worked with stained glass and it sounded fun and challenging. When I saw that Richmonds local Visual Arts Center offered evening stained glass classes, I decided to try it. Turns out, I love working with glass! (And I met some other great creative people too!)

Why glass?

Prior to working with glass, I was (and still am) an admirer of all types of glass creations leaded, fused, blown, mosaics, etc. I never considered trying leaded glass myself until my friend told me about the process, and totally demystified it. And then I thought, I think I need to do this! I really enjoy the puzzle fitting the pieces together to create something beautiful is extremely gratifying.

How have your other interests/hobbies/career influenced your glass designs?

I have been drawing in graphite and charcoal for several years and I also dabble in photography and graphic design. All of these skill sets come in handy when creating original glass works. I like dramatic contrasts and balanced designs, and this extends to my glass work as well. I have always gravitated toward bright, eye-catching colors, and youll see a lot of jewel tones in my pieces. I also enjoy the clean simplicity and sparkle of clear glass, which I put to use in my beveled snowflakes. By day Im a fund raiser for a nonprofit theatre company. Working in the nonprofit world is fulfilling but its nice to have a creative sideline business to supplement my income!

What inspires you?

Im inspired by the beauty of nature angles, shapes, textures, colors they can all be found in every imaginable variation and combination in nature. I am also inspired by the work of great artists not necessarily the famous usual suspects (although they inspire me too!) but local creatives who demonstrate immense skill, talent and dedication to their artform. Others designs often spark ideas for me, which is fun.

What makes your work unique from everyone elses?

It took a few years for my own glass style to emerge as I continued to learn, hone and create. While I have used commercial patterns a couple times, I really prefer creating my own designs, and I think that sets my work apart and allows my own creative fingerprint to come through.

Whose work, glass or otherwise, do you most admire?

Glass-wise, I am especially captivated by the creations of Tiffany Studios (who isnt?) and the remarkable work of blown glass artist, Dale Chihuly. Other favorite artists include Georgia OKeeffe, Bridget Riley, Mark Rothko, Franz Kline, Chuck Close, Frank Lloyd Wright and I really love the ceramics of Motawi Tile Works.

Do you sell your work? If so, where?

Right now I have some leaded glass snowflakes on Etsy and I hope to add some stained glass pieces soon. Truthfully, most of my sales happen locally through word-of-mouth, which is great.

What advice would you give other glass artists?

One thing I would say is to feel free to stray from the path and experiment. Some of my favorite pieces have come about because of happy accidents, but also by ditching convention and using items in pieces not typically associated with glass, like coins, jade, shells, etc. Most importantly have fun!

Learn more about Emily by visiting www.emilyjcole.com or www.etsy.com/shop/emilyjcole. You can contact her at [email protected] or 1 (804) 432-1594.

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