I’m gathering photos of decorative glass for a special décor feature in our upcoming winter issue (out Nov. 28). Writer Linz Tan profiles glass work from many Atlantic Canadian artists, including Marcela Rosemberg from Stratford, Prince Edward Island and Julie Doetsch of Raven Glass Studio in Cross Creek, New Brunswick. I thought I should share with you [...] More »
Using decorative glass in your décor adds colour and personality. We profile some of Atlantic Canada’s top artisans.
With its durability, variety and timeless appeal, a decorative glass piece brings vitality to any space. From clear to coloured, fused to kiln-formed, sand-carved to custom-made, glass décor options can seem limitless.
“Choose a glass piece that makes you happy and reflects your personality,” says Marcela Rosemberg, a glass artist from Stratford, Prince Edward Island, specializing in contemporary designs. “The right glass piece will have its own flow between itself and the rest of your space. It should give balance in the area of the home that you want to incorporate it in.”
Showcasing hues of cobalt blue, lime green and aqua, Rosemberg’s fused-glass pieces are both functional and decorative. She designs a range of items, including bowls, trays, plates, candlesticks, sushi sets and sinks. “The right glass décor for your home should be able to say something about you,” she says. “It should evoke a relaxed moment.”
As a decorative piece, glass can complement a room’s décor or even become a focal point in the space. “I think that glass has a character and a personality,” Rosemberg says. “It is strong and fragile at the same time, much like a human being.”
Julie Doetsch also finds joy in creating glass pieces. The owner of Raven Glass Studio in Cross Creek, New Brunswick, she designs glass pieces using a variety of techniques, such as weaving, kiln forming and wheel engraving. “It’s cold and hard, it shatters and makes you bleed but it is thrilling to bend it to one’s wishes,” she says. “I have said, and heard it said by others, that opening the kilns is a lot like Christmas morning—full of expectation and excitement.”
When selecting a glass piece for your home, bear in mind its function, colour and shape. Black, white or red pieces give a more timeless appeal while turquoise pieces are more trendy. Most glass plates and platters are also dishwasher and food safe, so you can use them for entertaining or as centrepieces for your table.
Kiln-formed and fused-glass pieces depicting natural elements are enjoying a resurgence in popularity. “I think natural things right now seem to be what’s moving,” Doetsch says. “They are very simple and they are rather elegant. I go down to the Bay of Fundy and collect rocks that are local to the area. I think that’s quite popular, particularly with tourists.”
Sharon McNamara thinks decorative glass can be a simple yet versatile addition to any space. The self-taught glass artist runs Kiln Art in Chester, Nova Scotia with her husband, Paul Palango. “With glass pieces, the sky’s the limit and they are a lot of fun,” she says. “They can enliven your space. They add a lot of texture and beautiful colour into your home.”
Throughout her career, McNamara has created a range of glass pieces, including a window for the Prince George Hotel in Halifax, dinnerware, large mirrors, lamps and countertops. Unlike most glass artists who fuse pieces of coloured glass together, McNamara and Palango start off with a clear piece of glass for each project. “Everything that we do is like self-made into glass,” says McNamara. “People look at it often and they think what we’re doing is taking some kind of paint and painting on the glass but that’s not what we do. What we do is paint with crushed glass.”
Her process creates colourful, bold and attractive pieces, though she is best known for her sea-inspired dinnerware. “The pieces that sell the most are a collection of fish,” she says. “I make fish on plates or on all kinds of different things. They are made with crushed glass. Paul, on the other hand, is famous for his mosaic pieces,” she says. They custom-design each glass piece, though clients can choose from a variety of ready-made designs in their store.
Although creating glass décor pieces by hand takes much time and effort, the results are worth it. “Glass gives me endless possibilities to express myself and develop ideas,” Rosemberg says. “The material is a positive one—it is a medium to bring my best expression of art. Every time I sell a piece, it’s not only the piece itself I am selling. I am selling the piece, myself and a history behind it.”