Featured Artist: Gail Grambling Harrison
Describe your primary medium and describe why you’ve chosen it for your artwork
I am a fused glass artist. I love the ability to design and discover outcomes. I enjoy the fact that glass has a mind of its own and often, there are surprises when I open the kiln. I love watching the colors melt and do their magic creating a beautiful design.
When did you start working with this medium? How did you get introduced to this medium?
I began working with fused glass about 6 years ago- my love for glass began as a child visiting Corning Glass from my home in New York state. I saw Linda Boyes’ work showing at CAST and she suggested I take a class in her studio.
Did you teach yourself or do you have a formal education?
I’ve worked with Linda Boyes, Patti Gray, Lisa Vogt, and Janine Stillman in-studio workshops and studied multitudes of videos, and books. I was a Fine Arts major at Wells College. I have training in pastels, oils, acrylics from my childhood- college.
Have you always worked with this medium? What other media have you used?
I’ve been doing photography since high school; painting with oils and acrylics since my youth – the first oil painting set was given to me when I was 8 years old.
I do wish I’d started in glasswork earlier in life.
How much of your time do you devote to your artwork?
As much as I have time to! I try to spend 4 partial days in the studio. I am a psychotherapist the other days but sometimes I sneak in an hour or so on those days. Definitely, moving towards retirement… I also own GlimmerglassArtWorks, a Corrales Gallery and I’m President of the Board of Corrales Society of Arts.
What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do?
I love designing, creating art that’s pleasing to the eye that makes people smile, think and feel.
What are your sources for ideas and inspiration?
I have always used my photos as my guide, all 27,000+ of them. My eye is always observing nature, this grew from being in the wilderness for 2 weeks at a time while my husband mapped for geology. My wonderful view from home is also, a source of landscapes, and creatures and birds. Recently, I’m trying to view from Plein Air artists’ perspective using shape and color and lighting to create my own glass world. I like spontaneity.
What obstacles do you encounter as an artist? How do you overcome challenges?
I have to make studio time a priority, though retirement is peeking around the corner… Costs of materials and pricing for sales are difficult. Buyers don’t understand the costly materials, and equipment required for the medium. COVID -19. I discuss process and materials with customers. I also, plan to do on-site demonstrations at the Gallery when it is open again.
Do you know what the finished artwork is going to be when you start? Do you ever just work from spontaneous impulse?
I design my work but with less accuracy than my paintings because outcomes are related to fire schedules, seasonal weather, temperature glass reactions and time in the kiln. This for me is the wonderful part not having complete control of the outcome. Sometimes, I do work spontaneously; just placing glass pieces in a design that feels right to me and then fire it. A recently planned piece broke, I put it away and then it became a sculpture!
Do you have a philosophy about producing art?
My work comes from my heart and soul, usually from pleasure, not angst. It’s a piece of myself to give to the public.
Do you collaborate with other artists and if so, how does that happen?
I have worked with Myles Freeman (Pacific Art Glass & Santa Monica CC) and Terry Baker (Tesuque Glassworks) for hot glass work & glass blowing of my designs.
Hope to pursue more after the COVID pandemic.
Do you show your work commercially? If so where? Do you produce your art for a living or is it more of an avocation?
I’d be happy to make a living doing what I love! In the 45 + years of training I haven’t found it can support me fully, hence the therapist hat.
I’m grateful that I have my gallery at this point in my life and that my glasswork fills my soul and hopefully others.
What advice would you give aspiring artists entering the field?
Produce your art in the medium you love and don’t let your lack of confidence keep you from moving forward. BE BOLD!
What else do you want to say to help introduce you and your work to our readers?
Come by the gallery, GlimmerglassArtWorks, visit glimmerglassartworks.com.
See my work with your eyes and feel it for yourself. I love to talk about it.