Bringing Nature Indoors Through Stained Glass Art
Hello Marlene and thank you for your time. Your work is beautiful. So getting started, tell us in what part of the First Coast do you reside now and how long have you lived there?
I live with my husband, Charlie, and my Goldendoodle pup, Elliott, in a beautiful area that borders the marsh and the intercostal.
How long have you been doing your craft or trade?
I was first introduced to the art of stained glass when I lived and worked in Switzerland 30 years ago and have never looked back. I trained in Basil, Switzerland, taking as many courses as possible and later trained in New Jersey and New York.
What brings out your creativity?
I am inspired by the beauty of my favorite Swiss City, Lugano, that is located in the southern part of Switzerland near the Italian border. This beautiful area is semi-tropical and somewhat similar to St. Augustine. I am also inspired by the beauty of life here in the historic St. Augustine area.
What does your work aim to say? Are you trying to bring a smile to someone’s face or add to someone’s home decor?
My stained glass art is an eclectic mix of functional art–lamps, mosaic mirrors, and one-of-a-kind stained glass panels and windows. The mix of vivid colors as light passes through the glass brings nature inside like no other medium. Much of my art revolves around the ocean and sea life and the semi-tropical surroundings that I love so much. Stained glass brings our surrounding to life.
Are there any spaces or designers that have influenced you?
I love color and love how light filters through stained glass and reflects life inside. I am inspired by the great Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture which is reflected in some of my panels and windows. I am also inspired by the Art Deco and Art Nouveau stained glass art.
What is your favorite artistic accomplishment?
My favorite and most challenging artistic accomplishment was a 72” stained glass window that I designed around an underwater scene that featured tropical fish, sea horses, dolphins, sea shells, sea grass, and beautiful colors of the ocean.
Do you have a specific piece you would love to talk about or promote?
I specialize in birds native to the St. Augustine area. Among some of my custom stained glass panels and windows, I have featured pelicans, great blue herons, and roseate spoonbills. I was recently commissioned to create a stained glass window featuring a roseate spoonbill in flight over the intercostal. I was invited by the customer who was commissioning this panel to come to his home on the intercostal and take pictures of the roseate spoonbills in flight. I was able to capture the perfect shot of this beautiful pink bird flying over the water. It was very exciting to me to be able to use this picture to create a beautiful window for this customer. The window was curved on the top which made the project challenging, but it turned out great.
What is the best way for artists to network?
There are so many great ways for artists to network through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, but I always feel that the best way is to meet in person through professional organizations or clubs of like-minded artists.
If you had a question you would like to ask another artist what would it be?
At what point in your life did you realize that you had artistic talent? Was it from the beginning as a child, or did it come later in life?
What if any, is an important lesson that you have learned on your artistic journey?
The most important lesson that I have learned is to have patience. Those things that are important in life don’t always come easy. If a person is not failing something at times, that person is not progressing because many times, achievement comes out of failure. Patience is necessary whenever a person is learning a new skill or technique.
What’s the best thing for you about living on the First Coast?
The best thing for me about living on the First Coast is being able to look out my window or walk out my door and come face to face with some of the most beautiful things in nature that inspire me every day. On my daily walks with my dog, Elliott, I find inspiration in my neighbor’s blooming garden in the spring, sitting on the bench overlooking the intercostal, or long strolls on our beautiful beaches. I just can’t imagine living any where else!
How can we see your work?
Is there anything else that you want to tell everyone?
My life changed forever the day I was first introduced to the art of stained glass. I am living my dream every day, and in the morning when I get up, I can’t wait to do it all over again. I am “Living what I love!”
- About the Author
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I did not connect with clay as an artistic outlet until mid-life. During a hectic and demanding career, while juggling family, job and my MBA, I needed a healthy outlet to release my frustrations while appealing to my sorely under-utilized creative needs. One summer class gave me the impetus to redirect what little down-time I had into punching, pulling, coiling, pinching, slapping, and throwing this amazing and malleable material into anything my imagination desired. I found therapy through clay.
In the years since, I have received an Associate’s Degree from the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire, and set up my first studio in a basement of our house. Currently, my studio has moved above ground – to my garage, but includes a wheel, large Skutt kiln, slab roller and an array of clay and glazes that would make a chameleon dizzy. I am a proud member of the Professional Artists of St. Augustine Fine Art Gallery since October of 2021.
I work with a variety of clays and glazes – from mid-temp stoneware and shiny glazes to low-fire and matte underglazes. I find inspiration in nature, children’s stories and fables, and my own untamed imagination!