This week's blog was written by visual artist, Lea K. Tawd. Lea interviewed glass artist, Linda Gerrard of Linda Gerrard Art Glass.
What would you say was your “ah ha” moment in going from thought to passion to actually starting your business?
I thought making fused glass would be fun, but when I would bring items to work to show friends and they kept buying and ordering more, I was really surprised. My husband bought my first kiln as a Christmas gift and I was able to create much more complex pieces in my home studio. I began having home shows, people were very excited to find unique gifts and the sales and custom orders kept increasing.
Describe yourself in one word. Why that word?
Organized. I’m very methodical about how I put my pieces together and I like to work in a clean and organized space so I’m not searching for anything.
Where do you create?
I have a 300 square foot studio space in our basement with 2 kilns, an 8 foot work table, lots of glass bins and shelving and an adjacent 400 square foot space where I display and sell my art work.
What motivates/inspires your work?
I am inspired by the beauty of nature that surrounds us, our travels and photographs taken on vacations.
Who inspired you if anyone?
In the beginning, I was excited to find I could learn to fuse glass myself and I was inspired by all glass art. After improving my skills and deciding I preferred to make representational art, I learned of a couple experienced glass artists who made beautiful art and I was lucky enough to take a class from 2 of them which helped me improve my skill level and increase my ability to bring more realism to my art work.
Tell us how you choose your supplies, material, you use in your Art?
Fusing glass is a very precise process and you must ensure all glass in each piece is ‘compatible’. Glass is made with differing Coefficient of Expansion (COE) which cannot be mixed, so I purchase all COE 90 compatible glass for my work. I use large sheets of glass that I hand cut as well as stringers and various sizes of crushed glass called frit. Depending on the desired effect, I layer and arrange the glass and may use multiple firings to create visual depth. By controlling the temperature and time in the kiln, the pieces can be completely smooth or have very soft, or quite strong, texture.
Did anyone ever tell you couldn’t do it?
No, but people were very surprised fusing was something you could do in your own home.
What kind of creative patterns, routines, or rituals do you have?
I typically look through my photos for inspiration before deciding the size and shape of the piece I’ll be making. Since photos are far more detailed than what you can do with glass, I must then determine what elements to include in my design, how to get the depth I want and how much texture I want to have on the finished piece. This is necessary so I know what goes on the background, mid-ground and foreground and how many times it needs to run through the kiln.
What is the most difficult thing about making your Art?
Judging the ramp speeds, hold times and top temperature so I don’t break the glass and I end up with the desired texture.
Do you have other staff, partners etc.?
What’s your favorite piece you’ve ever created?
I’ve made a few pieces with a Heron (or Egret) and these are some of my favorites.
If you could wake up tomorrow with a new artistic skill, what would it be?
I would love the ability to paint beautiful water colors.
What do you like to do when you're not creating?
I enjoy being outdoors, travelling, and playing with my granddaughter.
Be sure to stop by Artistic Portland to see Linda's gorgeous works in person! Artistic Portland is open Mon-Sat from 10 to 6pm and on Sunday from noon to 5pm.