Piecing together beauty with glass

Saturday, January 14th 2006, 10:59 am
By: News On 6

EDMOND, Okla. (AP) _ Sometimes, beauty appears in pieces. And for Edmond artist Carol Wilson, inspiration releases beauty whenever the mood strikes. Sunlight radiating through stained glass has inspired people for centuries.

``It's an outlet for me to express my creativity,'' said Wilson, who has taught the art of making stained glass at the Fine Arts Institute of Edmond since 2002.

At the FAI, Wilson teaches basic stained glass for beginners as well as a class in fused glass. Students learn technique and discover how imagination frames the boundary of creativity. For many, possibilities become boundless in scope.

``Carol is a fun-loving person with a delightful sense of humor. Everyone enjoys her as a member of the FAI family,'' said Mitzi Hancuff, FAI executive director. ``Her work is an inspiration to her students and always beautiful and clever with its originality.''

One of Hancuff's favorite pieces is one Wilson had intended to be a bowl before the design of bright flowers shattered during firing. Wilson can't stand the thought of throwing glass away. So she framed them around a copy of a prayer read by former First Presbyterian Church pastor Joel Baker during the 2003 blessing of the new FAI building. Now, it hangs on Hancuff's orange office wall.

``You lose a lot in the kiln,'' Wilson said. ``So, I just take a hammer to it and break it up, refire it. I make picture frames and wind chimes.''

Wilson learned the technique of fashioning stained glass from Randy Marks, a sculptor/designer in mixed media from Oklahoma City. Three years ago, she learned how to fuse glass by taking an art course at Oklahoma State University.

``Once you start cutting and breaking the glass, you just get hooked,'' she said.

Occasionally, Wilson will sell a piece of glass art. But generally she donates pieces to be sold at charitable auctions, including FAI, and she gives away stained glass to family and friends.

The glass art ranges through colorful dishes, jewelry, vases, frames, mirrors and wall hangings. Using dichroic glass makes her jewelry change color when reflecting light.

``My style is trial by error,'' Wilson said. ``I feel like everything I do is an experiment. I hardly ever do the same thing more than once. So it's almost like Christmas every morning.''

Her work with stained glass is a tedious and methodical process. A project can last for weeks or months.

``With stained glass windows, you hope it comes out exactly as you planned it because it's very exact,'' Wilson said.

A large window made of 368 pieces of stained glass is an original pattern of three monkeys frolicking on Monkey Island. Choosing varying glass is Wilson's favorite part of a project. Translucent antique glass has a wavy quality from the glass shifting through the years.

``I love the different textures of the glass,'' she said. ``Ive done pieces with 20 different textures. To me, that never gets boring to look at. When the sun comes in on those textures, it shines differently.''