*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

Glass museum.



*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

old glazes.



*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 stina@mac.com


*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,

Richmond, California.


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.