19 Jan Glass Gardens Northwest
Recently I met up with Barbara Sanderson, who makes the most amazing glass birds that I have ever seen. They are just gorgeous! She hails from Glass Gardens NW and she was so cool, that I interviewed her twice! This is part one of our chat.
Flora- How long have you been creating glass sculptures (would that be the correct term for it or no)?
Barbara-Yes, that is a good term for them! I have been blowing glass since 1998 and creating garden art for the last 6 years.
Flora- What was your inspiration to combine your art and the subject of gardening?
Barbara– Ironically, the “inspiration” was a bowl gone bad! Glassblowing is a very challenging medium to learn and become proficient in. One day in the studio I was working on creating a bowl – the colors were vibrant red on the outside with a bright enamel white interior.
Unfortunately the glass became too hot and the piece started to collapse on itself. I was still interested to see what the color combination looked like when cool so I playfully pulled the piece in different directions and placed it in the annealer to cool overnight. The next day I absolutely loved the colors and took the piece home with me. I placed it in my garden at the edge of the driveway where it still stands today. It looked wonderful and that inspired me to experiment with more colors and different shapes designed to work in harmony with a garden setting. This was one of many “happy accidents” that have happened over the years which result in new ideas, color combinations and designs.
Barbara– There is a lot of infrastructure required to build and maintain a hot glass studio. I am fortunate to have acquired a very efficient electric glass furnace. Most glass furnaces are gas fired-they run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and that requires a lot of gas! My electric furnace was built by Steve Stadelman from Portland, OR and is one of the most well insulated and efficient electric furnaces available these days.
I regularly recycle copper that is used in my artwork and I also reuse broken glass by melting pieces together and making smaller gift items like coasters and jewelry.
Flora- So good to hear, Barbara! Thanks for sharing with us. I look forward to chatting more with you tomorrow.