Our September artist story is dedicated to Jolene Juhl, a fused & sandblasted glass artist from Northwestern Minnesota.
(Jolene's art has beautiful color & design ~
now at the Shoppe!)
Jolene is generous with her time, talent & thoughtfulness when it comes to her art, her customers & her desire to support the new Shoppe venture. When I asked what inspires Jolene as an artist, she responded, "I love trying new techniques. My inspiration comes from books, nature, the internet & other artists."
(Jolene in her art studio.)
I asked Jolene to share a bit about her creative process & what exactly is involved in creating her beautiful art pieces. She shared that glass fusing involves taking various layers of glass & melting them together. She explained, "I tell people fused glass is somewhere between stained glass and glass blowing. My art work is divided between functional work, glass art & jewelry."
(A lovely variety of mugs, candle holders, soap dishes, nightlights & more!)
Jolene uses the heat of the kiln to form the glass. She will vary the temperature of her kiln, as well as the types of glass, molds, paint & firing times in order to produce a variety of effects. Jolene described the diverse ways she will work with the glass to create unique pieces including sandblasting, cutting the glass on a saw, sanding & placing the pieces into the kiln numerous times. Jolene explained that the heating up & cooling down of the glass in the kiln can take a few hours or a few days depending on the size & thickness of the glass.
(An etched glass candle holder made from an recycled wine bottle.)
Jolene shared a bit of history in terms of how she became interested in art & her learning process. She explained that her cousin told Jolene & her daughter about glass fusing in 2009 during a trip to Oregon. Jolene offered a glimpse into how it all began,
"We decided it was something we wanted to learn how to do. We purchased our first ceramic kiln for $50 & started on the kitchen table cutting glass. I now have 5 kilns with digital controllers. I started out doing a few pieces for family & friends & then I was asked to do some commission work for a resort near International Falls, MN. From there I started selling my pieces in a few different locations."
(A beautifully designed fused glass soap dish.)
"I call glass my hobby gone wild."
Jolene shared that building a studio has allowed her to share her fascination with this art form. She has taught classes for adults, church youth groups, a high school art class & several library programs for kids. Receiving two art grants from Northwest MN Art Foundation gave Jolene the opportunity to purchase a ring saw & sandblaster for her studio. Jolene shared some of her secrets,
"I have learned a lot about this art form by reading books, attending seminars, classes & trial & error. I have had the opportunity to take several classes from well- known glass artists around the USA & Canada. I continue to search out new ideas and methods. There are several techniques that I want to try... I would like to learn more about silk screening onto glass as well as including photos in my glass."
(A lovely, fused glass nightlight.)
I (Sarah) imagine it's hard for an artist to identify their favorite piece... a bit like choosing a favorite child or grandchild I suppose. But when I asked Jolene about her favorite, she shared that she learned a technique to make Murrini in her kiln. Jolene explained that when the layers of glass are liquid, the glass is allowed to come out of a small hole at the bottom of a kiln. The glass is then pulled into decorative rods as it comes out & Jolene will hand cut the cane into small pieces. These small pieces are added with other glass to create bowls, plates, sun catchers, etc. Jolene will finish each piece by cutting it on a tile, sand the piece with a diamond blade & water, complete the sandblasting until finally it goes back into the kiln to soften the glass slightly to form the shape she desires.
(Jolene at work in her studio.)
Jolene generously offered advice to new artists just starting out. She said that glass artists are always very willing to share their knowledge & so she suggested asking a lot of questions, learning & exploring. She suggested joining online groups or finding an artist in a medium you're interested in & request to shadow them, learn their techniques in order to inform your own. Jolene offers excellent guidance,
"It is the tips & tricks that others use that can make a huge difference in the final outcome of your piece... explore & keep creating! As you learn about other art forms you will broaden your knowledge & take your art to the next level."
(Uniquely designed candle holder.)
We are very fortunate to have Jolene as an artist collaborator at the En Liten Svensk (A Little Swedish) Shoppe in Roseau. Jolene is willing to do custom orders & she even extends invitations to customers to join her in her studio to create their own masterpiece & to explore the world of glass fusing.
To see more of Jolene's beautiful creations, we'd love for you to stop by the Shoppe and visit Jolene's Facebook page!
A big thanks to Jolene for sharing her story!
With warm Autumn wishes,