I am a self-taught artist and maintain a home art glass studio in Spring Grove, Illinois. I have a small group of friends that meet every week to work with stained glass, fused glass, and lampworking. My medium is fused glass. Walking meditation and “forest bathing” are important to my life, and this is reflected in, and inspirational to, my art. I use sheets of glass, small crushed pieces of glass (frit), and spaghetti-strands of glass (stringer), to form my art pieces. These are laid out on a flat kiln shelf and fired in a kiln until the glass melts together. Some pieces are then placed into a mold and fired a second time to slump them into various shapes, such as wave forms or bowls.
My process is focused and intricate. I find that piecing together hundreds or thousands of bits of glass is a meditative process, slow, thoughtful, or possibly thought-less. A sheet of glass will generally form a flat base, and then frit and/or stringer are laid on top. Many of the tiny bits of glass are precisely placed using tweezers and tools. Powdered glass can also be used, and this is carefully shaped with tools and brushes to form specific shapes, such as the veining on a butterfly wing. The glass stringer is bent carefully, piece by piece, over a candle flame to shape it into curves and shapes. Once I am satisfied with the layout of the glass, I determine the fusing temperature. Pieces might be fused at a “full fuse” temperature of 1470° to completely meld together, or I may fuse at a lower temperature to retain the texture and definition of the glass, while still having it adhere into a cohesive piece. Often there are several models created at various temperatures until I am satisfied with with the balance of fusing.
You can walk through a field and have an impression of waving grass and glorious meadow color, or you can slow down and see the minutiae in all of its infinite detail, the butterfly’s wing and the shading of color on a flower petal. My art pieces, as a result, have a meditative feeling. You can view the piece and see the overall beauty, or contemplate the fine details that make up the whole. I hope that my art gently imparts a message to slow down, remember to breathe, and notice the details in the world around you.
Additionally, I have a business in digital design. My business partner and I design customized WordPress websites and work in Adobe programs to provide digital artwork & photography: Chelini & Oeffling, Inc.