This Friday night from 5-7pm, we are celebrating the kiln-fired glass art of 7 talented artists who frequent the Stained Glass Garden and participate in our lab & workshops.  

Every day in the store, we get to see the amazing creations of all of our customers as they shop for glass or work on projects in the studio. Each artist has a unique approach to color combination, theme, and envisioning what a plain sheet of glass can become. We started doing our “Featured Artist” series in an effort to help connect our Bay Area glass community and share your creations with a wider audience.  Many are on-going students who have developed incredible skills, but still consider themselves amateurs and hang on the brink of selling their work.  Our gallery can provide a mid point for both hobbyist & professional, with the space to show, an opportunity to explore pricing and display, and hopefully, connect with other artists with similar inspiration. 

The Annual Fusing Showcase is especially fun because it brings together the unique styles of many of our glass fusers who work in the same space, but celebrates each interpretation of techniques explored in our Fusing Lab and other workshops.  My favorite part is reading the answers to our “Questions for a Glass Artist”, and gaining a little insight into each artist’s process and source of inspiration.  Please enjoy the artists’ answers below, and come and see their work in person on Friday night.  (We will also have complimentary refreshments and sales on sheet glass & molds!)

cindi fox maple leaf

Cindi Fox:

How did you get involved in glass art?

When my daughter graduated high school,  she bought me a class for my birthday and encouraged me to rediscover my creative self after spending so many years raising children.  Since that first class, I have taken as many classes as possible at Stained Glass Garden and have loved continuing to expand my knowledge and learn new techniques.  

Why do you love being a glass artist?

This is a funny question to answer because I would never use the word “artist” to describe myself—which segues into why I love working with glass.   I have always been challenged when it comes to drawing or painting anything realistic.  One of the things I love about working with glass is that I don’t have to even try to make anything look realistic, I can just have fun with color and design.

What do you think about while you’re creating a piece?

One of the reasons I love working with glass is that I can think about nothing at all while working on a piece.  I love nothing more than to come to the studio for several hours and work on a glass piece and forget about everything else.   Working with glass is truly a method of meditation for me that gets me out of my head and is so much more fun than traditional meditation.  Several years ago after my father passed away, I immersed myself in  making a glass mosaic shelf and found it to be the perfect therapy.  Now, whenever I look at it, I think about him and how making it helped heal my sorrow.    

kathrynbarryKathryn Halleran-Barry

 How did you get involved in glass art? When we bought our first house in San Francisco 10 years ago, it had 2 empty interior transoms and I thought "I want to make windows for those!" So, I took a class at Stained Glass Garden and have been working with glass ever since.

 Why are you passionate about working with glass? I love color. Glass delivers colors that play with light, that let you combine your favorites, and it gives you infinite ways to create. It is an outlet for creativity that is both relaxing and exciting. The anticipation of a finished piece is like Christmas morning every time you open the kiln!   I have no training in the arts other than classes in glass and I am limited in my ability to create new design, but a new look that makes me happy is always the goal.

 What’s the key to organizing your glass studio? Having things viewable and easily accessible. I just recently put in a storage area in my kitchen and going from bins filled with junk to an organized space is so much more energizing and it really helps with creativity.

 What advice do you have for those starting out? Don't be afraid of the glass! And practice your cutting skills. Cutting is the most basic and essential skill when you are learning and you should get that down. Take a cutting skills class if there is one and practice, practice! Even experienced cutters can have bad days, and bad cutting can cost money and turn a fun project into a chore.  

 abipolinAbigail Polin

 How did you get involved in glass art?

I was fortunate to go to a high school with an amazing art department, with equally amazing teachers. I started out in the fine metals program and eventually got into glass as a way to complement my jewelry. That was quite awhile ago, but I was fortunate to have the many awesome classes at the Stained Glass Garden to help me get back into things.

Why do you love being a glass artist? 

I am a scientist but I have always needed art in my life to achieve a healthy balance between analytics and creativity. I love glass art in particular because I like building things, and glass is a satisfyingly three dimensional process.

What advice do you have for those starting out?

Take a class! Everyone at the SGG is fantastic. It’s really inspiring to be around such talented folks. 

 tobymickelsonToby Mickelson

 Why do you love being a glass artist? 

The pleasure for me is in the focus and quiet of building a project- the passion comes from the surprise after opening the kiln!

 What advice do you have for those starting out?

Learning requires penultimate patience. SGG staff are there to guide and answer all the questions. Having them as part of the process makes learning so much easier and of course more fun!

 kristinschwaighartKristin Schwaighart

 How did you get involved in glass art? I started with a mosaic class at SGG and wanted to spend more time with glass. Julie's 5-week fusing class sealed the deal--hooked.

 What projects/new things are coming up for you?

I have a Moche (pre-Inca) design that I'm working on and then back to sea creatures.

 What advice do you have for those starting out? 

Play with the glass and do crazy things. You will cut yourself (not severely) and you will make mistakes. Sometimes the mistakes are brilliant, but working with glass is always fun and amazing.

ruthgrimes Ruth Grimes 

 Why do you love being a glass artist?

I love being a glass artist, as I just love glass.  I like to just look at it and admire the way it plays with light, I love the excitement of opening the kiln in the morning and, most of all, I love seeing the smiles and pleasure that others get when I share my work.

 What is your current series about?My current series was inspired by a friend, a bee expert at the University.  I wanted to remind people, with the earth tones of glass and the insect decorations, that the effects of climate change and the current administration's lack of concern for environmental damage can threaten our insect population, and thus our own future.

 How did you first get involved with SGG?

I became involved with Stained Glass Garden first as a customer for glass and molds, and then took some classes.  I was impressed with the supportive environment that the staff created, and the encouragement that they, to a person, provide.  It is a real asset to the glass community.

 sharonhainesSharon Haines

How did you get involved in glass art?

 It was a serendipitous spotting of a sandwich board in front of the Stained Glass Garden.  An advertisement for a 5-week introduction to fused glass piqued my interest. It was a beautiful day, I had some free time coming up, so I signed up for the glass class. I've been hooked ever since.

Why are you passionate about working with glass?  

The transparency of colors lends a magic to the medium. It's satisfying just to pick up various colors and textures and see which might work well together. It's so engaging that other worrisome or pesky thoughts drop to the side. It gives me a chance to obsess about something purely creative for a while, so I'm not ruminating forever about politics or climate change. 

 What is your current series about?  

I found a piece of Wissmach luminescent glass that reminded me of the inside of sea shells. My prior palettes were more vibrant colors, but I found myself being drawn to experiment with this pastel range of color, with sheen that requires a little movement of the glass to appreciate its full beauty. I like that not everything is obvious and flat. It gives you something to look at from different angles.