Thursday, June 25, 2009

Featured Artist - Margie McNutt

Today’s featured artist is Margie McNutt, a charming lady who creates beautiful items from fused glass. (

Margie calls fused glass “a functional art form,” which is certainly well demonstrated with her beautiful platters and bowls. In our modern world of mass production, where the same items appear in every store, it’s wonderful to be able to find true artists who carefully design and hand make each piece.

Along with her functional art, Margie creates some amazing glass sculptures of trees and lacy tangles of grass. It was one of her trees that first attracted me to Margie’s shop, and they are still my favorite items in a shop full of beautiful things.

Margie’s prices are quite reasonable, especially when you consider the time, effort, and sheer expense involved in creating these lovelies.

Since I knew almost nothing about working with fused glass, Margie was kind enough to share with me the steps involved in creating one of her trees:

“The Wild and Tangled Tree is a kiln-formed or fused piece of glass. To achieve it there are three different firings in the kilns. In the first fire is the body of the tree; strips of glass are piled at different angles on a kiln shelf then they are fired at a full fuse (1500 degrees). The second firing is to put the 'leaves' on the tree. Without moving the first firing from the shelf, I use a mixture of greens in coarse frit (frit is a small piece of glass), putting the frit on the outer edges of the full fused strips of glass. I then do a second firing in the kiln. The frit is fired into a soft fuse (1380 degrees).

After going through the proper annealing etc. in the kiln, the glass is removed, washed and prepared to be draped. Draping is done by placing the flat glass on a tall cylinder mold, (solid side of mold up). After centering the glass, it is once more fired to drape over the mold (1255 degrees). With all three firings the glass spends over 24 hours in the kiln heating and about the same time cooling! When the glass has cooled to 150 degrees or less, I open the kiln and remove the now upside down tree from the mold. It is always a thrill to see the finished product, each different, each with a personality of its own.

Glass is a passion for me; it is a medium that is capable of becoming so many wonderful functional pieces of art. I truly think I dream glass! There is always the next project forming in my mind, ready to become a reality. Perhaps not exactly like I pictured, as glass at times has a mind of its own, but always a thrill to open the kiln after the final firing to discover what my dream has become!”

Please visit Margie’s shop and check out all of her beautiful works of art. We’re in the season of weddings – think how wonderful it would be to give the bride and groom something this beautiful and unique!

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