*How did this opportunity to show come about?
A ceramic group (ClayWorks) that I am a member of announced in a group
e-mail that this Department of Solid Waste Management had just opened and
was looking for artists that worked in recycled materials that were
interested in showing there.
*Tell me about the physical aspects of the site? Is there an indoor
building or will it be outside. Trees, water, etc.
This is a so called: green building" or a recycled building were a lot of
the original building materials got reused. This makes the building become a reuse
statement in itself. It gives me therefor even more pleasure to show there
for all my work is now made out of 99% reused materials. There is both
indoor and outdoor space that can be used to show at. I choose to show my
work indoors in a very sunny spot right as you walk in on your right. My
latest work is seldom weatherproof but shows best in natural light.
*Did you create any specific pieces for this show and if so, did the
environment of the venue influence how your work was created?
I did not make any specific work for this show. It is rather the other way
around. I am always on the look for places to show my work in that will
speak the most about the reuse aspect of my work. By showing in these
places I am hoping to open peoples eyes about reusing through art. There is
so much waste out there and most of the things that we throw out could so
easily been made into something useful again if we just made a little push
in that direction.
*When you are invited to exhibit somewhere, how does the environment of
the place affect you in creating your art and then in placing it in the
It depends how easy it is for me get work to the place that I am going to
show at and the time that I have for preparing for a show. Take for example
my two latest shows in Iceland. The earlier one I had 3 years to think
about what I wanted to show in my one woman museum show. I wanted it to be
very Icelandic based but also made in Iceland to keep the cost down. It had
bothered me for the longest time that Icelanders have all this stone to
build out of and instead of making good use of their own natural resources
they often import stone. So I decided to create work only with Icelandic
stones gathered from the beaches of Iceland in hope to try to open some
peoples eyes about their own country.
The later show I had about 2 years to think about what I wanted to show. I
decided to make 28 pieces over here out of 99% reused materials and then
ship them over to Iceland in suitcases to show to myself that it was
possible to have a big sculpture show with very little cost in a far away
*As an artist, how important do you feel the setting is to where you
exhibit your art? Do you think the setting changes how people view the art?
It is very difficult to control the environment you want to show your art.
It is hard to be picky and in many places there are restrictions to where
and how you show your art. You better be flexible. The ideal places are
hard to get into so that controls it self how important some settings are.
It really makes a big difference where you show your art. You get totally
different audience in a gallery or a museum then in a waste management.
Different setting will without doubt change the way people look at your
work but I think peoples view towards art is changing a little. When I was
growing up art was only in museums, galleries and big corporations. There
are so many places now that want artists to have shows at their place.
Maybe we are finally finding out now that it is so much more interesting
for all of us to be in an environment with "useless" pretty things called
art in it;)
*Tell me about how you discovered that you had a passion for art?
I was very creative as a kid and as an example I often made toys from stuff
that I found on my walks around the neighborhood. I was an only child with
a lot of time on my hands. When I went to college, I took biology field to
prepare to be a doctor like my mother but took all the art classes that
were available and my teacher even made up a couple as independent studies
so I could take more. This passion kept growing even thought my next step
was medical school and had really no time for it. On my second year I just
couldn't take it anymore. I had foolishly thought I could trick myself to
think I could be a doctor with spare time used in the arts. I therefore
quit with the support of my future husband and enrolled in art school
instead and have been happy ever since.
*What does creating art do for you as a person?
Making art is my art therapy. It also makes me grow and challenges me every
moment. I am always on a quest for new ways to reuse materials and mix them
together. My next thing will be forging mild steel parts to go with my clay
and glass work. What I would really like to master is plastics. All these
containers that we throw out every day. Most of them going to be sitting
buried in the ground for centuries or until someone finds a great way to
dig them up and reuse them.
*Glass is a fascinating medium and not an easy one to work with (remind me
to show you photos of my parents' glass cane collection, some very old
pieces). What drew you to glass and how did you learn to work with it?
Then how did you learn to integrate other materials into the glass or
glass into other materials?
You could say it all started with one paperweight that my mother had
brought back from Italy from the famous Murano island known for it's
spectacular glass. As a kid I would stare at it for hours wondering how it
was made. When an opportunity came to go to the Bay Area and continue
studying art. My first priority was that the school had to have a glass
facility. I was lucky. One of the best glass departments in the US happens
to be at the California College of Arts and Crafts and also very very lucky
that the same year as I began my studies there that the department had a
new head. A very strong headed passionate Irish glass sculptor (Clifford
Rainey) but still flexible enough to let me experiment with casting glass.
I was a sculpture and glass major and took also all the classes I could
take in the ceramic department and some in jewelry. I decided to go the
unknown way. I didn't like the waste molds that are created to cast glass.
As a sculptor major my desire to expand the pieces of glass more then just
being one piece of glass limited by the size of the kiln that they were
made in also bothered me. I had read that copper could be cast with glass
without it breaking so I wanted to learn more about the properties of
copper so what better place then in the jewelry department. I was at that
time also a big fan of Henry Moore sculptures which often had wires in
them. Molds on the other hand what could I do there. Well I went to the
schools library and looked up anything and everything about ancient
castings and found that clay had been used before plaster was ever used but
know one really knew how people really did it. What really pushed me in
this quest for looking into a new way of casting glass was one sentence in
a book given to me that same year I was ranking by brains about what I
could do to get rid of plaster. The book had in it a small blurb about René
Lalique casting methods. René was a famous French jeweler that wanted to
try to combine in his jewelry, glass and other semiprecious materials and
the book was about his extraordinary glass and jewelry pieces. It said in
the book that he had used semiplastic refractory material. At school I was
told that meant high fire clay so I went ahead and got myself some clay and
my first molds actually worked! From there on was no turning back. Little
did I know that René had used plaster with a little bit of dry clay mixed
into it to make his molds back in 1893. I found that out years later
looking through books for better info about his methods at the Corning
*Describe to me the process (es) you use in working with glass. Doesn't
have to be detailed.
Since my first clay molds I have refined my method to mostly creating open
face molds that I can reuse over and over again to fit to my needs of
reusing and use now only reused clay. The molds are simple like cake molds
often are that way the glass just pops right out. The glass I use now I get
at the nearest recycle center. The clay I get from members in the ceramic
group that I am in. Some of them don't reuse the trimmings and other scraps
that form when they create their pots. The glazing materials come from
garages sales, recycle centers and other artists that want to get rid of
*Do you work in your home in Chapel Hill? If so, did you have to set up a
special area to work with glass? If people are interested in seeing how
you work, should I put in your email so they can contact you? I will
>definitely put in your web site.
I work from home. I have changed the garage to accommodate my needs. I use
a ceramic kiln that has a controller on it to guide the glass through
melting and cooling. People are welcome to see my studio and work. One good
way to see it all is coming up fast for I will be participating in this
year Orange County Open Studio Tour. It is the first two weekends of
November. I always post on my site where I am showing at the time or where
I will be showing so take a look often on my website art.net/stina or send
me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
*What type of things are influencing your work now?
Well the latest was the birth of my second child and my move from the west
coast to the east that created worries about my future art growth. As soon
as I knew I was moving here I searched the internet for anything about art
in this area and found lots to my biggest surprise going from a
metropolitan area to a small university town. This investigation inspired
my feelers series that I then showed in Iceland last year. The latest is my
seekers series. This time my feelers are seeking locally if not with in.
Iceland is still there in my work. I am after all an Icelander where ever I
I usually don't know what my work is about until I have made some and have
had them around for some time. I am working on some bigger sculptures know
that I don't have to slap the all the way to Iceland. The show is going to
be at the Durham Arts Guild next April. We are three women that have a
common feel between our work and want to bounce our work of each other. It
is possible that some of the work will be influenced by my resent brush
with breast cancer that took one of my breasts away and part of the other
at the tender age of 34. It is to early to tell just jet. You just have to
come and see my April work and help me read my work.
*Is there an echo of Iceland in your art? And if yes, as I suspect is the
answer, what echoes?
The country it self echoes: the sea, the ice, the mountains the raw barren
nature of my home country. Then there is my connection to my ancestors
through their tools. They lived a very hard life and reused everything
because they had to be able to survive. Well today we don't have to but I
am sure our gold mines in the future are going to be the landfills. Make
sure you take a look at my influence pages when you visit my site if you
want to get a feel for what I see in Iceland.
*What kinds of questions do you get from viewers of your art?
Because I don't reuse materials by just using it unchanged, people don't
know it got made that way so I have to point that out to them. So the
respond that I get from people is mostly regarding the mixed media look
they have for there is always a mixture of materials in each work. Kind of
my trade mark now. Usually glass + something else. The second thing that
people notice is the familiar look of something that they can't pinpoint
what is. It looks like a tool they say or something by the sea washed up so
they ask me what it represents and often come up with some ideas them
selves. The people that seem to appreciate the work the most are the once
that have lived by the sea. A certain glow shows in their eyes as they talk
about their experience as they view my work.
*Have you ever shown your work somewhere that you thought it really stood
out because of the surrounding environment? Or that it was diminished
because of it? You don't need to name the place but could you just describe
why if at all.
The best place that I have showed at was at the Richmond Art Center,
My solo show was in a long room with big continuous windows on one side. I
got therefore lots of natural light.
The worst show I have ever been in was in a group glass show. My work was
put on a badly painted and beat up pedestal with plexi glass box over the
work to make sure no one touched it in a middle of a small room and to top
it all the piece got very bad lighting so the work just sat there
unattractive. The right placing and lighting can make such a difference.