My Dad was a painter and had been to Taos several times before we moved here in 1959. He had been charmed by the town and after several visits between 1939 and 1959 when he finally decided this was the place that inspired him the most. While he was a prolific painter and gained some national renown I was never inclined to follow in his footsteps despite his efforts to introduce me to drawing and painting.
I wasn't all sure what path I wanted to follow, but in college I decided to become an archaeologist and then moved into journalism after getting degrees in both. Then, in 1980, while working on a freelance story about making as an artist in San Diego, I interviewed a woman who was making stained glass boxes for a living. I interviewed her for the story and in the course of the interview she demonstrated making one of her glass boxes. I was intrigued and soon after made my first box.
Transluscent Glass and Mirror
Glass and Mirrors
I like to say that it was a good thing I was making it as a gift for my mother; you can give your mother a stick and she will say, "OH! For me?" That box led to making a few more and then began making leaded glass windows. Building leaded windows turned out to be a perfect match for both my artistic inclinations as well as my mechanical abilities.
A few years later I moved to the DC area and continued to make windows on a commission by commission basis when I happened on a booth exhibiting etched and carved glass at a Home Show. As soon as I saw the work I was hooked. I closed down my own business and went to work for the studio that had done that incredible work. A few years later I opened my own glass studio. My business partner did all of the leaded glass and I devoted myself to etching and carving.
Then came the next step. A designer with an architectural firm in DC called me to see what I could do with recycled glass. She told me what she had in mind and that led directly to building my first big kiln and learning all I could about casting and fusing glass.
Eventually I moved from the joint studio to working solo in my own studio in Alexandria, Virginia. It was a successful move for me, but there came a point when I felt Taos calling out to me, just as it had for my Dad. However, instead of jumping right back into setting up my own studio once I came back I took several years off to think about what I most wanted to do with my future glass work. I did a few commissions as old clients tracked me down, but for the most part I worked on my own projects and thought about what kind of work I would like to do. How would I go about pulling all of the elements of my artistic career into new works? How could I begin to bring them together into the sculptural work I had always intended to pursue?
This, then, is the fourth step in my exploration of glass. I have rebuilt my studio in two bays of an former auto repair shop. I have the tools and space to do just about anything that comes to mind, from glass to metal casting and now I am looking forward to seeing where all of these many new possibilities will take me.
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