posted on 10:25 AM, December 12, 2016
Commission, Untitled, 33" x 12" tallest, 2014

Tell us about yourself! 
After a completely different career, I came to glass through the hobby of beadmaking, teaching myself by following instructions and photos in books. After studying at Pilchuck with Laura Donefer, Robert Mickelsen, and Shane Fero, I was able to start making flameworked/lampworked sculpture. Now I have a private studio in Cupertino, CA. Slowly but surely, after raising 5 children, I am working on my BFA. I’m about to start my second of three required classes in furniture design and building.

What draws you to the material you work with, and why have you chosen the processes that you use in your work?
I appreciate that glass has the possibilities to support infinite themes and ideas. It’s incredibly versatile, adapting to a wide variety of techniques and visual effects, allowing artists to choose what best suits their ideas. Are there other materials that can be shiny and clear, or solid and translucent, or wispy, or organic, etc.? Flameworking makes glass work accessible on a small scale. It’s a lovely, intimate way of working with glass in which we can create beautiful intricacies in the work, which I really love.

What themes do you pursue in your work?
I work in five series:

Natural Botanicals are three-dimensional trompe l’oeil in which a brittle manufactured material takes on the appearance of something organic and pliant. They celebrate the beauty of nature and its ability to lift us out of the commotion of everyday life that seems so urgent and important, reminding us we belong to mysteries far greater.

Imaginary Botanicals entice us out of the confines of our ordinary realities, into alternate realities where the unexpected can appear.

Questionable Foods pokes at us to be responsible for ourselves, to question what we are eating and what we call food, while challenging the food industry’s ethical obligations to consumers.

The Liberty series addresses times in life when we find ourselves trapped in cages, whether imposed upon us or of our own making, from the merely annoying to the painful and horrific. Some of us fortunately find opportunities to pull ourselves out and move into new realities.

Offerings are inspired by the teachings and mudras (spiritual hand gestures) of Buddha. This series of work invites us out of the “I want” culture, into the spiritual healing and peace generated through gratitude and generosity. This work is humbly personal and greatly matters to me at this time of life.

What is your dream project?
Building a big artists’ cooperative with 25-30 artists of varying media, with all sorts of equipment available, so we could all be in the soup of art together every day. What a dream that would be!

If you weren't working in this field, what career would you choose?
From a practical perspective I would work with my husband in sales and customer support in semi-conductor equipment manufacturing. From a more emotional perspective, I would perhaps be a writer.

What's something about you that most people don't know?
I am terribly shy. I can talk to large groups, but one on one, I am painfully shy.

Why are you a member of GAS?
People!! It is a distinct pleasure to know other glass folks from around the world, of all sorts and disciplines.

Visit Kathleen Elliot's GAS member profile here.

Sun Pods
Questionable Food #2, 2012

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