I have been an artist for as long as I can remember. I started my artistic life as so many of us do, as a child drawing pictures. But as I grew, I came to favor hands-on types of art, which is what ultimately lead me to trying every craft I could get my hands on. I dabbled in making candles, painting on bottles and votives, painted bottle caps with nail polish and t-shirt paint, played with ceramics and polymer clay, knitted, sewed, and stuck together everything I could with a glue gun. I was an artistic force to be reckoned with, but nothing held my interest for very long.
The first time I ever worked with glass was when I was 16, when I took a sun-catcher class at a local stained glass studio. I fell in love with the material instantly, and after creating a few stained glass pieces, I branched out and took classes in kiln fusing, ornament blowing, bead making, and millefiori cane pulling. Melting and manipulating glass in real-time grabbed my creative heart in a way that no other medium had ever managed to before (or since). So I bought a little Hot Head torch and a toolbox kiln and began creating soft glass beads in my parent's garage.
But I was only able to work sparingly, as I was busy earning my BA in Sociology and MA in Thanatology (which is the scientific study of death and the social/cultural practices associated with it). After graduate school, I had planned to work as a grief counselor, but due to my academic AND personal experiences with grief and death, I realized how short life truly is and decided to explore my artistic passions. In 2011, I began an internship in a hot glass shop and worked as a gaffer's assistant for a few years, creating my own pieces of glass art at the end of the work days (when time allowed, that is). It was a wonderful experience, and while I loved the hustle and camaraderie of the hot shop, I yearned to make smaller, more intricate pieces that are simply impossible to make in the furnace. So in 2014 I bought a Nortel Red Max, converted the shed in my back yard into a studio, and painted it purple. Thus, the Purple Pagoda was established, and I have been torching within it's walls ever since!
I now work on a Bethlehem Bravo bench burner torch (pictured below) and focus primarily on making jewelry, but I also enjoy making small sculptures, figurines, Christmas ornaments, and the occasional tobacco pipe. I have a lot of fun creating a wide variety of objects out of glass, and I am always trying new techniques and designs. My mind comes up with new ideas faster than I can create them!
So please check my store often for new creations! I am thrilled to be able to share my art with all of you!
I live and melt glass in the foothills of the Catoctin Mountains near Frederick, MD with 3 wild and wonderful rescue cats - Papi, Rosie, and Stormy.