Beachcomber by Andrea Kelter
It's been a busy winter season and I've been a bit remiss in getting our member interviews back on the web. To start off 2010 - Welcome Andrea Kelter: Earthglass Stained Glass Studio.
How was it that you started working with stained glass?
I began working with stained glass after a good friend showed me a stained glass gift he had received from friends. I was awestruck by the way the light played through the glass and created an almost surreal glow, and I was intrigued by the elements of design in the glass. Because I am a professional graphic artist, the capabilities of design in glass particularly fascinated me – so I purchased all of the essentials for a stained glass studio (including lots of books), went online and did lots of reading, then went ahead and began to make glass pieces. About three months in, I realized I absolutely loved working with glass and wanted to create original pieces, so I purchased Dragonfly's Glass Eye, and began designing and executing original pieces. I was very fortunate to find an outstanding gallery, Serendipin' Art, in St. Andrews (by-the-Sea), New Brunswick, that wanted to feature my art and slowly but surely, I am beginning to make a name for myself within this medium.
Where does the inspiration for designs/work come from?
Most of my designs are inspired by Atlantic Canada's coastal scenery and the animals which inhabit this part of the world. I draw strength and inspiration from the ocean, particularly the Atlantic Ocean, and I believe that our oceans are the source of all life. Currently, I am working on a new series of pieces depicting North Atlantic right whales, which happen to be the world's most endangered mammal, and I'm really excited about the way they are turning out. There are so many wonders of Nature on our planet, that a lifetime is just barely enough time to scratch the surface, and compared to some artists, I got a late start!
Who influenced you the most, or helped you along the way?
I found an artist in the Muskokas in Ontario who has a studio called "Torr 'Lith". Her work is utterly mesmerizing, and it is a goal of mine to achieve the level of glass design and execution that she has. I've never met her, but she is a truly uniquely gifted individual. Robert Oddy's work is also a source of inspiration for me – although his work is very different from mine, it is his impeccable quality and innovative use of glass that I find makes me want to stretch my own ideas further.
When have you ever been frustrated/disappointed with the material?
There have been times when I have designed a piece that I find utterly stunning on paper, but when I executed it, no matter how carefully I chose the glass and crafted the piece, I was dissatisfied with the degree of "life" in it when it was completed. Conversely, there have been times I designed a piece that I liked on paper, but when it was done, I found it a hundred times more pleasing than the initial design. I'm working on a custom transom window for a couple who own mines in the Northwest Territories right now. Their home is in coastal Maine, and they want to remember the beauty of the NWT mountains and the aurora borealis in their window. I loved the design when it was completed, but now that the glass is cut and I'm in the final stages of assembly, I know the piece is much, much more dramatic and visually stunning in real life than it was on paper.
What is your favorite glass and why? How did you use it?
I have a few favorite types of glass – depending upon the design in which they are being placed. I absolutely love Bullseye glass, find it very cutable and love the way it both reflects and refracts light, and also absorbs and transmits it. I use it in a lot of my lamps and most of my panels. Youghiogheny glass is another big favorite of mine – it's a little more difficult to cut, but well worth the effort for the quality it gives a piece, particularly lamps. For my ocean-inspired panels, I also use a fair bit of Spectrum and Armstrong glass because the movement within their streakies and wispies, and the many blues and greens they offer, really effectively capture the moods of the ocean.
Check out more of her work in the members gallery.