Donna Sarafis: The Work of Inspiration


"Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration." - Thomas A. Edison

Along the way, I've had some wonderful artists and friends share tips on how to make our endeavor successful, and these that I've chosen to pass on below may be the ones that have made the most difference.

1. Pick a path and focus. There are so many wonderful avenues that can be explored with fused glass.... or other glass mediums.... that for many of us, it is difficult to choose and focus on one area. Of course it may be necessary to take several classes to learn a variety of techniques in the beginning. I loved jewelry, contemporary design w/stringer and sizzle sticks, pattern bars, rod making, etc., but sooner or later, it is wise to pare down the list and focus on work that when viewed by others has a theme. In time, you can create a body of work that will become your signature.

Spend some time looking at art of all types. Think about what it is in those particular pieces that just speaks to you, and begin moving in that direction. Georgia O'Keefe, Monet, and Klimt are especially exciting to me visually. Bold, beautiful, bright colors are my favorites because they look good enough to eat! And because nature is so breathtaking, I've narrowed my personal list to landscapes, florals, birds, and fish for now. Many would probably say that list is too long. :)

The old saying, Jack of all trades but master of none, might apply to those that cannot focus. Monet did many water lilies before he got it the way he wanted... so if we can learn from others, we would learn to focus... and then practice. From this discipline, eventually we might rise above the masses, develop our own distinctive look, and even a following! But, oh the dreaded P and D words are so difficult for most of us who have an artsy personality. It is for me.

2. Now we've done Step One, and we know what we have a passion to create. Is there going to be some order to our creative process? Well, if it is too ordered, it could become stilted, but the artist who has a plan, sets goals, gets up at a particular time most days, and works diligently is often more successful than others. Again, the dreaded D word. But, before we shrink away in horror, let's remember the joy is in the process, and we all process a little differently from others so there is room for our own form of discipline. I'm so thankful that I can actually do this for a living, that the work is a joyful experience and vice versa.

3. Step Two is on a roll now, and we are creating. The next great tidbit of advice came from a gallery manager in Houston. He suggested that I give them a group of pieces that could be staged together by theme, color, size, etc. It not only made their arranging of the gallery easier, but it made my pieces look better in a complimentary setting. Giving thought to this helped in several ways. A theme helped me plan what I would be making for the next months and allowed me to order supplies more easily and less often. I also found that I wasted less time and glass when I was more organized. (Not to say that I don't have weak moments and go off in some unknown direction just for the fun of it!)

So, hopefully, the tips that I've passed on will help others who are beginning their journey and make it a little easier. We all need a little help and support along the way.

Image Credits: The Kiss by Gustav Klimt. Haystacks by Claude Monet. Images part of public domain.

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The views, opinions, positions or strategies expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, positions or strategies of Delphi Glass. Delphi Glass makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. Delphi Glass reserves the right to delete, edit, or alter in any manner it sees fit blog entries or comments that it, in its sole discretion, deems to be unacceptable.

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Cindy C.  •  April 05, 2013
I just recently completed a 4 day class held in Houston with Donna. It was one of the best things I've ever spent my money on. She is intelligent, focused and creative. The information she gave here is the same that she gives in class. And you got it free from Delphi. Take her advice. It is very helpful. I have already taken some of what she shared in this article and already feel better about my art and the direction I want to go. Donna is a great teacher and wants to share her love of the art. She is inspiring. Cindy C
Donna Sarafis

Donna Sarafis

Donna Sarafis and her husband John own Dancing Light Fused Glass Studio in Huntsville, TX. There they create their original designs which often include landscapes, birds, and florals with dimension and texture. Their studio also provides a wooded and peaceful atmosphere for their workshops where they teach their original, watercolor-like approach to painting with frit. Recently, Donna and John were the guest artists and instructors for the Delphi Art Glass Festival in Lansing, MI. In 2010, they were honored with a first place in the spring Art Glass Festival contest, and second place in the kiln formed category.