Kathy Engholm is a glass artist that specializes in glass on glass printing as an art form. Inspired by nature, traveling, ecology and injustice, Kathy inspired to find solutions and share the stories through her art.
Tell us a little bit about you and what you do.
I work primarily in fused glass using myown fused glass-on-glass screen printing method and other frit-based techniques to create images of people living lightly on the earth, either by choice or by poverty. My current work is based on my photos from Arches NationalPark, some shot from the back of a moving motorcycle. I developed and continue to refine techniques for overlaying powders to produce more colors and show additional detail,resulting in a journalistic style that matches my vision for photographicinterpretations.
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I have been fusing glass since 2002, originally making functional items including plates, bowls, clocks, and jewelry. In early 2014, an introduction to glass-on-glass printing changed my artistic direction by allowing me to represent photographic images in glass, particularly snapshots from two humanitarian trips to Haiti. The resulting body of work celebrates the determination, dignity, and joy that defy even the most extreme poverty.
My glass-on-glass printing process involves digitally editing photographs and separating them into multiple layers for various shades of gray and, optionally, colors. These layer stencils are printed on transparency film, and then exposed with UV light onto silkscreens coated with photo-sensitive goop. Different colors of finely crushed glass powders are pushed through each screen in turn, sifting down onto a base of sheet glass below. The piece is fired in a kiln to fuse the powders to the base.
Integrated glass frames are assembled and fired in advance, before the screening step. To make multi-color pictures, I add spot colors by hand to a fused image using palette knives, tiny spoons, brushes, and other manual tools to manipulate the crushed glass before firing yet again.
What made you interested in making fused glass art?
I had always been fascinated with glass blowing, then saw some of Kathleen Sheard’s fused glass wildlife art in a gallery in Hawaii and was completely amazed. While still working as an electrical design engineer, I started taking fusing classes in my spare time and bought a tiny kiln that lived in the guest bathroom. From there, one thing led to another.
What inspires you?
Nature, travel, ecology, injustice. The last of these sounds negative, but it inspires me to look for solutions and ways to help, including through my art and by talking to people who visit my booth at art fairs.
What other hobbies do you have?
Woodworking, travel, baking, sewing, knitting, gardening, bicycling, computers and software, designing just about anything (I’m a compulsive designer).
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
“Embrace who you are.” This advice was given me towards the end of an art class by a great teacher, Stacy Smith. I was bemoaning being stuck on representational art and having great difficulty making abstract work.
See more of Kathy’s amazing work
Interview posted October, 2015.
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