I thought it might be nice to feature our gallery members in a more meaningful way. Most of us work in isolation and may not know about our glass mates, near or far. To remedy this, I thought a few questions posed to a randomly selected artist each month, might be of interest. Bev Hewitt of Gemini Art Glass is our first.
How was it that you started working with stained glass?
In 1990, I was living in London and for the first time in my life, I was unemployed. My wife suggested I take up a hobby to keep me occupied. Such as ? I said. I don't know, stained glass !, she replied. So I signed up through Fanshawe college and started evening classes with the now well known Scotty Giffen. After several weeks of evening classes, Scotty asked me if I wanted to do some work for him. And so I served an 'apprenticeship' under the master. After that period . . . I was hooked ! Stained glass was a hobby for 13 years and it has been a business for me for 6 years.
Where does the inspiration for designs/work come from?
Sometimes clients give me a subject, sometimes I see shapes and challenge myself to build them in stained glass, Celtic knots being an example. Other times, I may just decide to design something abstract, and sometimes I produce designs to try to reproduce subjects in the natural world ie. flowers, butterflies, birds, water fowl etc.
Who influenced you the most, or helped you along the way?
Without a doubt, Scotty Giffen. He set me on the road and gave me good advice over the years too.
When have you ever been frustrated/disappointed with the material?
Got to think about that one. I got one . . . I use zinc came around most of my larger free hanging pieces because it provides a more rigid frame. But I have never had success in getting the surface totally black. I've pre-washed the surface in flux remover, I've pre-scrubbed the surface with steel wool, I've tried patina for zinc, and patina for solder. I finally gave up and now I normally paint the frame using Tremclad paint. Time consuming, but a better finish.
What is your favorite glass and why? How did you use it?
I don't think I have a favourite. I choose glass for my projects based on 'what do I need for the subject', 'what's happening' within the glass itself, and will the different colours and textures 'meld' together ? Subsequently, I have used Kokomo, Armstrong, Youghiogheny, Bullseye, Wissmach, Spectrum, Hartley Wood (UK - and went out of business years ago) and Duncan Glass (USA ? - also gone out of business).
Check out more about Gemini Art Glass on the Artists in Stained Glass Gallery Page.