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I have a sensual connection with glass. As a child, its ethereal hues drew me in. As an adult, its spirit and complexity work their alchemy in my soul. When cold, design and structure challenge. When hot, the primitive call of fire, heat, sound and smell beckon. I must know it well to follow where it leads.

  I live with the forces and creatures of the hardwoods which surround me. My dreams bring water from the wellspring of the unconscious. Rocks and stones tell me their tales of old. I love to laugh. All these inspire my glass to tell the stories that are entrusted to me.

 

 ARTIST BIO

After a successful career in flat glass, and teaching its techniques in such places as the Smithsonian Institution, Elizabeth Mears began flameworking in 1990 when she studied with Fred Birkhill at Penland Craft School in Penland, North Carolina.  In the fall of 1992 she was further inspired to study flame-working in a workshop with Susan Plum at the Renwick Alliance in Washington DC.  Since then she has continued developing her flameworking techniques and has studied with Fred Birkhill, Shane Fero, Susan Plum, Don Niblack, James Minson, and Hubert Stern and Heike Polster at Penland, with Robert Mickelsen at Pilchuck Glass School, and with Sally Prasch at Corning Museum of Glass.  She received a scholarship to Pilchuck Glass School in 1999 to study with Einar and Jamex DeLa Torre. 

Elizabeth is a full time studio artist who creates primarily using the flameworking technique; although she occationally accepts large scale flat glass commissions. 

In 1999 and 2001 she received the NICHE Award for her flameworked glass which is also included in private collections throughout the United States and Canada.  She has taught flameworking at many craft schools, as well as, demonstrating for the 1999 G.A.S. Conference in Tampa, Florida.  In the summer of 2000 she was an instructor in flameworked glass at Penland School of Crafts.

  In her work, Elizabeth utilizes the contrast created by hard, shiny surfaces juxtaposed next to soft matte ones.  She works in several different series:   the Dream Mask Series utilizes human faces sculpted from opened glass tubing, Functional Goblets and Stoppered Bottles combine extensive use of glass cane and sculpted objects, Judaica items include menorahs with symbols based in the faith, and her flameworked Sculpture combines glass with other materials and includes many of the concepts and techniques utilized in the other series. 

 

 EXHIBITITED WORKS

The Glass Gallery, Bethesda, Maryland

The Grohe Glass Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts

Hickory Museum of Art, Hickory, NC

Dadian Gallery, Wesley Seminary, Washington, DC

The William Breman Jewish Heritage Mus., Atlanta, GA

Blue Spiral Gallery, Asheville, NC

Sylvia Plotkin Museum, Scottsdale, AZ

A Gallery of Fine Art, Palm Desert, CA

PISMO Gallery, Denver and Beaver Creek, CO

Stein Gallery, Portland, Maine

ARTIST STATEMENT

My glass leads me on a journey of creative meditation.

  Nestled in the hardwoods of Virginia, my studio doors open to welcome each season.

The rhythms of nature have become my rhythms. Deer feast on my plants; birds are my constant companions. Redwing hawks from their guardian nest keep a watchful eye and bless my endeavors.

The creek below this adopted land is a place of solace and protection.

Deer bed down while spirit children leap stones in the cool wetness.

 Dogue Indians lived and hunted here; Lines of Confederate and Union soldiers ebbed and flowed; Mammoth hunters stalked prey 11,000 years ago.

 These stones and trees have been witness.

  The ground is hallowed by those souls

Who have lived on it and loved on itand been nurtured by it.  

Their presence welcomes me.  

Their spirit is channeled through me

Manifest in my creations.

 

SELECTED COMISSIONS

1999-00 
Commissioned to design, fabricate, and install Sanctuary Windows (388 sq ft), St. Christophers Episcopal Church, Springfield, VA

1998 
Chapel Windows (39.5 sq ft), St. Mary's School, Alexandria, VA 

1996, 97, 98 
Corporate Award, National Restaurant Association, Washington, DC

1997 
White House Ornament Collection, The White House, Washington, DC

1996 
Chapel Windows (60 sq ft), Fourth Presbyterian, Bethesda, MD

1988-1994 
Windows St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Burke, VA (381 sq ft),    

1994 
Law and the Prophets (34 sq ft), Passion/Crucifixion (34 sq ft)      

1993 
Exodus Window (26 sq ft)       

1992 
Nativity (18 sq ft), Creation (18 sq ft), Sacrament (26 sq ft)

1991 
Resurrection Window (44 sq ft), Holy Spirit Window (44 sq ft)

1990 
Chapel Window (40 sq ft)

1988 
C
hapel Window (70 sq ft)

   

GRANTS AND AWARDS

2001   
NICHE AWARD in the category of Goblets for "Goblet with Frog and Pomegranates"

2000   
NICHE AWARD Finalist in the categories:  Flameworked Glass and Judaica

2000   
Elected to the Board of Directors, Renwick Alliance, Renwick Gallery, Washington, DC

1999
Scholarship, Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, WA

2000 1999   
NICHE AWARD in the category of GOBLETS for "Goblet With Two Blown Fish"

1997  
One of three semi-finalists for "Art-in-Transit" to design, fabricate, and install a work of art in the Springfield, VA, Metro Station of the Washington Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Approved June 1998.

1996   
Full Scholarship, The Studio The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY

1990   
Finalist in MetroArt II Competition--KALEIDOSCOPE (23ftx17ftx12ft).

 

SELECTED EXHIBITS

2001   
Craft Alliance, "The Science of Craft", invitational, St. Louis, MO

2000   
Museum of Hebrew Union College--Jewish Institute of Religion, "Living in the Moment: Contemporary Artists Celebrate Jewish Time", curated by Laura Kruger, New York, NY

2000   
Artisans Center of Virginia, Founding Artist, curated by Michael

Monroe, former Director of the Renwick Gallery, Washington DC

2000   
Guilford Handcraft Center, "North American Glass 2000", curated by William Carlson, Guilford, CT

1999   
Craft Alliance, "For Love of Glass", Featured Artist, St. Louis, MO

1999   
Florida Craftsmen Gallery, "The Tip of the Iceberg", curated by Ginny Ruffner, St. Petersburg, FL

1999   
Joyce Scalzo Fine Arts Gallery, "L'Eau Claire De Cristal" (Crystal Clear Water),curated by Robert Mickelsen, Bellaire Bluffs, FL

1999   
d'Art Center Gallery, "Southern Glass Now!", curated by Gary Baker, Curator of Glass at The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA

1998   
Grohe Glass Gallery, "One Woman and Glass", Boston, MA

1998   
Morgan Contemporary Glass Gallery, "Flameworking '98", Pittsburgh, PA

1998   
Gallery of Guilford Handcraft Center, "North American Glass1998",Curated by Suanne Greening, Director, International Glass Museum, Tacoma, WA, Guilford, CT

1998   
Sylvia Plotkin Museum of Phoenix, '98 International "Ceremony in the Desert", Scottsdale, Arizona  

1998   
The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum, "Masters of Ceremony: The Next Generation", Invitational, Atlanta, GA

1997   
The Hickory Museum of Art, "Spotlight 97", Juried by Kate Carmel, Chief Curator, American Craft Museum of New York City, Hickory, NC

1997   
Craft Alliance, "Glass and Gas:  A Survey of Contemporary Flamework", Invitational, St. Louis, MO  

1996   
Dadian Gallery,Wesley Theological Seminary, "Vessels and Vestments",Invitational, Washington, DC

1996   
The Guilford Handcraft Center, Inc., "North American Glass 96", Curated  by Pike Powers, Artistic Director of Pilchuck Glass School, Guilford, CT

  

TEACHING EXPERIENCE

2000    
Instructor, Flameworked Glass, Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC 

2000    
Presentor, "Glass Music As Visual Art", Glass Music International Conference, Philadelphia, PA

1999       
Craft Alliance, St. Louis, MO, Sculptural Lampworking

1999     
Demonstration in flameworking for the Glass Art Society Conference '99, Tampa, FL

1998     
Studio assistant, Penland School of Craft, Penland, NC

1998-01
The Hand Workshop, Richmond, VA, Sculptural Lampworking

1997,98
Glass Workshop, Cape Cod, MA, Sculptural Lampworking             

1997,98
Guilford Handcraft Center, Guilford, CT, Sculptural Lampworking

1991-01
Faculty Art League School, Torpedo Factory Art Center, Alexandria, VA, teaching stained glass and lampworking

1991-95
On Faculty of Smithsonian Institution, Resident Associate Program, Washington D.C

1994,95
Workshops:  Stained Glass, National Building Museum, Washington DC

EDUCATION

2000  
Glass Blowing, Laura Donefer, at Workshop for the Renwick Alliance

2000  
Exploration of Plate Glass Working Techniques, Sidney Hutter, at Workshop for the Renwick Alliance

1999  
Sculpture with Glass, Einar/James de la Torre, Pilchuck Glass School, scholarship

1998   
Painting on Glass, Cappy Thompson, Peninsula Glass Guild, Norfolk,VA

1998   
Flameworking, James Minson, Penland School of Crafts, studio assistant

1996     
Advanced Lampworking, Sally Prasch, The Studio Corning Museum of Glass, full scholarship

1995   
Lampworking and Enameling, Hubert Stern and Heike Polster, Penland

1995     
Blowing Goblets at the Lamp/Don Niblack at Penland School of Crafts

1994   
Advanced Flameworking/Robert Mickelsen at Pilchuck Glass School

1993   
Sculpture in Glass/Therman Statom at Workshop for the Renwick Alliance

1993   
Flameworking/Susan Plum at Penland School of Crafts

1992   
Flameworking/Fred Birkhill, Shane Fero, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

1990   
Flameworking/Fred Birkhill at Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC

1987   
Painting on Glass/Albinus Elskus

1966   
BS in Biology, Chemistry, Education/ Purdue University

ON COLLABORATIONS WITH MY DAUGHTER

When my daughter was just a little girl,She occasionally spoke wordsthat stopped me short.My head shook in absolute recognition; I might have uttered the insight myself.Could this life journey have such a soulmate? Was it the all knowing wisdom emanating from such a small personThat created such wonderment? A greater bond grew at the root. We were Babas at each end of the selfsame thread. Our brains and souls were joinedby that woven link. Messages rippled to and fro. As she grew, she withdrew from that connection, As she must, To experience the world and find her own voice. She is now a mature young woman, With all the wisdom She possessed as a child.

The thread of understanding has been renewed.

 

SOURCES of INSPIRATION for JUDAIC ART

In the beginning... absent were knowledge of the faith and experience in the culture.

  I desired to honor a holiday that was not my own. From the written Word, vivid stories and powerful portrayals inspired my designs.

Through lively collaboration, believers shared themselves,their knowledge, and their ideas.

  Reading and research,

  Spiritual nourishment of Scripture,

  Dynamic dialogue.

  The Journey continues!

 

 

 

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Elizabeth Mears