Friday Interview: Art Salad Studio January 28, 2011 09:57

Our Friday artist interviews continue this week with fused glass artist Jennifer Johnson. Based in Connecticut, Jennifer is the artist behind the colorful jewelry collection, Art Salad Studio, whose unique pendants and earrings we carry here at Craftland. Read on to learn more about Jennifer.

When did you start your handmade business?
The official beginning of Art Salad Studio was September 2007. I was raring to go after putting my art on hold to explore a career in horticulture, marry my soulmate and have children. My love of fused glass remains intense and I luckily have found a niche with my original hand-painted designs.  

Describe your studio for us.
I tend to take over any free space in my home, though I should be in my designated basement space. I’m a social creature and like to be where the action is, though my focus is much clearer when located on the sub-terrain level. My basement studio space consisted of 2 large tables and much shelving to hold sheets of glass, tools, grinders, more tools, book, etc…I have a separate area where I keep the kiln. 

Describe your process of designing and producing new pieces.
I am literally able to buy sheets of color as brilliant as wet paint. Layering different glass colors and hues always keep fusing fresh. I’m able to take my love of painting and scale it to a wearable size. Simple graphics always catch my eye and I hand paint my designs in fusible enamel paints. I often scratch back into my dried paint before firing to get even more detail and fine lines. Once I cut and paint my glass pieces, I fire them in the kiln to about 1500 degrees. It takes about 5 to 6 hours for a firing cycle. Out of the kiln, the melted glass is never perfectly shaped, so I grind each piece with my wet glass grinder. Once to the desired shape, I re-fire at a lower temp to fire polish the rough edges. Sometimes a piece will be manipulated and fired a number of times before I am happy with it. Lastly, I turn the fused glass into pendants or earrings by attaching bails.


How does where you live influence your work?
Mother Nature is my muse, so it helps to be surrounded by the beauty of country living. I can visit the crook of a tree branch or observe a little bird whenever needed. The downfall to the podunk life is always having to travel a bit to visit a gallery, café, or decent supply store.

 

What do you do when you need a shot in the arm of inspiration?
There are moments of ‘fluttering’ where a blast of good music can bring on a productive day of creating. There are other lulls in my inspiration that need to be perked up by attending an art class. Right now I’m enrolled in a metals class to see if I can take my jewelry to a higher level.

What advice would you offer to someone who wants to take their crafting from hobby to business?
Baby steps. I worked a full-time job and crafted on the side, then went to part-time, and eventually weaned myself off the weekly paycheck. During that period I built up my local business, as well as collected the tools needed at a slow pace as not to get into debt. This fall I ran my kiln as often as physically possible. I’m searching for a larger one now that my demand is higher. I’m still working on my profit margin, fortunately my husband is supportive…literally.


When did you first become involved in Craftland?
A dear friend of mine who attends RISD had said to me numerous times, “You should check out this great, little shop near my school called CRAFTLAND.” Literally 2 weeks later, I met Devienna at the first Craftopia Event in April of 2010. I felt it was fate. 

Guilty Pleasure?
I’m secretly addicted to online room escape games. The thrill of hunting for hidden clues, puzzles and riddles to solve is euphoric. My Nancy Drew fantasy has come true.