May 19, 2022


Anything but ordinary

An artist’s one-of-a-kind, nature-inspired pieces brighten up homes and gardens

As another person who has constantly been fascinated by glass, Kristin Quackenbush understood she desired to do the job with it in some potential.

In the course of both equally her schooling and her everyday living, she’s experimented with diverse mediums, but glass was the most intriguing. When she moved back to Wisconsin following likely to faculty in South Dakota to get certified to educate artwork (she attained her undergraduate degree at the College of Wisconsin–Madison), she started by taking a glass bead-creating study course in Racine.

That was her initial correct introduction to the medium, but it wasn’t until eventually she moved to Solar Prairie that she took a glass-fusing class at the now-shut The Vinery Stained Glass Studio. Now she has been fusing glass for about 17 yrs.

In contrast to glass blowing, which entails a furnace and molten glass, glass fusing consists of “cold” glass that receives fired in a kiln.

“It’s something manageable in a property as opposed to needing to have a furnace facility for blown glass,” Quackenbush claims.

Most pieces begin with a base of crystal clear glass that functions like a canvas. From there, Quackenbush works by using pieces of glass that have been slice with mosaic nippers together with frit (ground-up glass) to develop a design. Making use of glass glue, she secures the parts and will include additional levels of obvious sheet glass and added items of frit and glass. After the design and style is established, it goes into the kiln, in which all the levels melt together to kind 1 unified piece of artwork.


Photograph by Nikki Hansen

Quackenbush compares the procedure to earning panini: clear glass acts like the bread on the base and best with colourful glass and frit performing like filling and garnishes, then the whole development is baked. All the processes are finished in her residence, and she has a kiln in her garage. Prior to possessing her individual kiln, she would put all the things jointly at property and transportation it to The Vinery to fuse.

“I get to participate in with transparency and opacity in layers of glass, as effectively as with damaged bits of glass that ought to be risky but, when managed appropriately, are not,” Quackenbush claims.

When she could try to do specified parts likewise, no two glass items will search correctly equivalent mainly because of changes in the design and style or firing processes. Regardless of how lots of of her most preferred sunflower parts she puts collectively, just about every one particular finishes up exclusive.

“People frequently talk to how lengthy it usually takes to make a piece, and there is not an quick answer,” Quackenbush claims.

Quackenbush is impressed by mother nature, and it can be discovered in almost all of her creations, principally in the type of trees, bouquets and landscapes. It’s also a fitting topic, as she would make parts for the property and garden, together with back garden stakes — her mother, mom’s close friend and sister will aid develop the copper frames for all those assignments. In addition to character, Quackenbush is also motivated by symmetry in style.

She loves developing things that persons will exhibit in their homes, as she feels honored individuals choose to devote in her art that they will see everyday. For her, glass is the fantastic medium for shiny hues, given that they will hardly ever fade.

“There are some times when people occur into my booth at an art fair with their mouths hanging open up,” Quackenbush claims. “I will often question them if they really like coloration, too, and they often say, ‘Yes!’ I imagine vibrant glass artwork draws them in like it does to me mainly because it brings us joy.”

As an artist who mostly sells at artwork fairs, Quackenbush has had quite a few activities at community fairs, but previous year’s Art Reasonable off the Square — the once-a-year July occasion on Martin Luther King Boulevard —was an anomaly. It was the very first artwork truthful in in excess of a yr in the Madison space, and things acquired hectic. She sold additional than at any time before and necessary to make a ton additional products for her subsequent summer exhibits.

It was at one particular of these art shows that she met the director of College of the Wisconsin–Whitewater’s scholar center who assisted her secure a solo showcase. Subsequently, the director provided Quackenbush the opportunity to layout a 25- to 30-foot-long piece for the college. Quackenbush ultimately worked with two other artists (just one specializing in watercolors and the other mixed media/collage) and an artist collective, Pastel Culture, to share the responsibility of generating a lasting piece on campus.

“That’s a person of individuals items that I believe most artists would sense like [is] a truly terrific life time achievement, to have anything on permanent display screen somewhere,” Quackenbush says.

Obtain KristinQGlassArt:, @KristinQglassart

Maija Inveiss is an affiliate editor of Madison Magazine.