Monday, January 16, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Sharon Swanson Glass + Giveaway!

Our featured artist this week is Sharon Swanson of Swanson Glass Designs. You can see here work on her website here or her Facebook page.

Please introduce yourself, what lead you to begin creating?
I am a stained glass artist working in the beautiful Pacific Northwest in Blaine Washington. Ever since I could hold a crayon I have been involved with one form of art. Over the years I have jumped from different art medias, but finally ended up with stained glass and stuck with it.
Sharon in her studio.
What drew me to it was how beautiful glass can be. It can look one way with the light in front and look another color with the light behind. The colors are also endless. I have had the pleasure of working with glass for over 10 years now, starting out making items for friends and selling at local craft fairs. I now sell wholesale to a few stores in our area, create commission work, participate in adjudicated art events, and donate to local causes.

Who in your life has been the biggest inspiration to your work?
 It isn't a specific person, but a manufacturing process. Years ago, I went to the local, Spectrum Glass factory to see how glass was made. They only opened up for tours a few times a year. They showed us the process from what ingredients they added to silica to make specific colors to the final glass sheets cooling on the conveyor belt. I was hooked! I now go a few time a year to Bullseye in Portland to handpick funky and interesting sheets of glass.

What is your favorite medium to work with/favorite technique to use?
Favorite medium? Stained Glass of course! It is timeless. It is just metal and glass put together to creative something that will last forever. I purchased a kiln a few years ago to try glass fusing, but I when back to stained glass. It is so rewarding, when you hold you project up to the light for the first time after working on it for days and see the light shining through it...magical!
Copper Foil Technique

I prefer the copper foil technique, the method made popular by L.C. Tiffany at the turn of the century. It involves wrapping the pieces of glass with copper foil and soldering them together along the length of the seams. This method can be used as an alternative to lead to make the window art lighter for hanging. It is also much stronger than lead when soldered, needs no putty, is waterproof, and allows me to make intricately detailed projects where the bulky look and weight of lead would detract from the aesthetics of a delicate design.

What do you hope to accomplish through your work?
My lifelong goal is to do stained glass as my full time occupation and not rely other jobs to supplement my income. But when I look back, I noticed that by working so many hours with a job and my second job (stained glass) I had very little time for housework.  The kids did their own laundry and my husband cooked and cleaned, so I really accomplished my important goal housework!

Which item currently listed in your shop is your favorite and why?
My favorite items in my shop are the pendants.  When I sell them at art fairs, peoples reactions are fun to see. They are just simple colored jewelry but people always look for their favorite color.
Melted Marble Jewelry
What fellow artist(s) have you been impressed by recently?
Kristi Thorndike-Kent, from Glassworks Northwest on Etsy.  We meet once and a while at local art events and she is always so friendly and helpful.  That is tough to do when everywhere you turn, more glass fusers are popping up!  She just keeps producing high quality art and her sales keep coming in.  I am impressed with her commitment to only puts items out for sale that are perfect and not stress about the rest.
A piece inspired by the Pacific ocean.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given as an artist?
Believe in the quality of your work and persevere.

What are you plans for the future of your shop/work?
I am  planning to focus on larger stained glass works.  I usually produce items that I know are consistent sellers and do not set aside design time.  It is difficult to do when you are busy or always behind in production.  This year I plan to do it.

Sharon has been so kind as to offer one of her lovely pendants up to one of our readers. You can find out how to enter below the break.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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