During the last quarter of a century or so, I have made a career of serving first as the Office Manager, and now Energy Analyst for a state association. The work requires logic, an analytical mind, a head for detail and the constant crunching of numbers. Although the work is certainly rewarding, there is little outlet for creativeness, as creativity is highly frowned upon in the world of bookkeeping and such.
An affirmed non-artist, I “found” glass at the age of 50. It was like receiving a surprise gift for some forgotten occasion. I hadn’t planned on becoming a glass artist. I took a bead making course on a whim. Then I took a fusing class. That did it! I was hooked.
In my home studio in Columbia, Missouri, I create both lampworked (hot) and fused (warm) glass art. I’m known as Snow Flake Glass…Get it?...No Two Are Alike! And with the exception of a few signature pieces, that holds true.
The backbone of my stock in trade consists of a room full of glass in three different varieties. Two for fusing and one for lampwork. Each must be kept separate because they don’t play well together. Melt them together in a project and your new work of art will surely end up breaking into pieces – sometimes dramatically.
Each of my fused glass plates is created individually. Most sport dichroic color and/or iridized glass. Many of my designs are of a geometric nature, possibly reflecting my experience with patchwork quilting – or maybe it is just an extension of my analytical mind. My “fishies” kiln-fused underwater scenes are lovingly made piece by piece including lampworked details representing sea plants and other creatures (and yes, I actually do use a tweezers to place pieces of frit sometimes).
I use lots of dichroic glass in my work. My studio is full of dichroic sheet glass, dichroic noodles, dichroic stringers, dichroic frit, etched dichro. Add to that iridized sheet glass and reactive lampworking glass rods (high silver content glass that reacts in the lampworker’s torch in mysterious, awesome ways). Oh, and there’s confetti, shards, millefiori, silver and gold leaf, copper mesh or wire, glass paint, “twisties”…the list goes on and on. A large part of the fun is in searching out unusual types of glass elements to incorporate into my work. (Can you say E-Bay?)
I will soon embark on a new journey: learning to blow glass. I’ve already made my first two obligatory paper weights. In February, I will be taking an eight-hour, intensive glass blowing class. Because there isn’t a hot shop for miles around, I will just have to pursue this form of glassmaking as I get the opportunity.
The ability to use heat to create beautiful works of glass art, from a tiny bead to more functional glass-ware items, is ancient. It’s been around for a couple thousand years. There are so many ideas in my head and products or techniques on my list of “things to try”, that I know I will never exhaust the possibilities.