INTERNATIONAL GLASS ARTIST: CHRISTINE STEWART
This month we feature the beautiful works of Christine Stewart, a glass artist from Australia. Christine has visited us several times to teach classes on glass fusing and slumping and to display her beautiful art.
Christine’s art evokes images of her native land, with pendants and bowls festooned with Australian imagery. The natural landscape of New South Wales is infused in her work. From the carmine and ochre swaths of the wild Outback to the deep virescent emerald of the Wet Tropics and the heart-wrenching cerulean vastness of the Pacific Ocean.
GLASS CRAFT EXPO USA
As an artist, Christine’s exemplary glass work has been recognized many times at the Las Vegas-based Glass Craft Expo USA. Her work has won awards seventeen times in the last ten years. In the beggining of her career (what she calls, “an obsession”) after a workshop on crafting simple stained glass window panels. She had dabbled in other media but something about working in glass fascinated her. She was enthralled by the different moods that she could evoke through light and color. There was no specific moment, no threshold, at which one could point and say she was not a glass artist before and became a glass artist afterward. It was a gradual process of learning that led, ultimately, to a 30-year career and a very successful studio. Christine calls the work very demanding but something she enjoys thoroughly.
Christine has been working in glass for over two decades from her studio in Australia. Her mosaics are individually designed and kiln formed often requiring several firings to achieve the high standards. She sets for clarity and depth. As an artist, she finds glass to be an exciting medium due to the varied techniques one can explore or reinvent. If given the chance, she says she would not change anything about her earliest days as an artist. Despite the challenges, particularly in converting her passion into a living, Christine would not change anything about her earliest days as an artist. Those challenges are part of who she is now, another facet of her being.
Christine cannot imagine what life would be like without colored glass (or “coloured” as the Australian New South Welshwoman puts it), she is particularly devoted to reds and oranges in her work. She feels for those affected by the closure of art glass producers but believes that it is time to reinvent or rediscover methods to continue this beautiful art form.
When asked about her most memorable mistake, Christine shared that while finishing her award-winning mosaic of a dragon, “Shanghai Dreams”, the primary element of the piece slipped from her hand and crashed to the floor. One piece of dichroic glass shattered into 20 pieces and scattered across the floor of her studio. She had been using the last of that specific glass and had nothing that would match (naturally) and she was finishing the complicated piece on the night before her trans-Pacific flight to the Glass Craft Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada (because of COURSE that’s when this would happen). Christine stared in disbelief at the pieces on her floor but mustered her resolve and picked up the pieces to be refired and assembled mosaic style. Shanghai Dreams boarded the flight with damp glue but it was entered into the Expo on time and won two awards!
Christine is also a prolific author of art glass design books on hot mosaics, glass mosaics, and dichroic glass jewelry. She has come to our classroom on several occasions to teach and inspire students and we eagerly await her next visit! Click to see our classes.