AAE Glass is proud to present a featured fused glass artist who has made the leap from the 9-5 world to the full time world of fused glass. Barbara Sargent, of Mansfield, PA, has made a few trips to Cape Coral, Florida in order to take workshops from Tanya Veit. The first time Barbara came to town, she was just getting her fused glass off the ground with an eye towards making it a full time job. Well, Barbara just made a return trip a few weeks ago and we are excited to hear she is growing at a rapid rate, even selling at Corning Glass in New York. Be sure to check out the link to her website above. Below is a little history about Barbara in her own words and how she is working daily to make her dream come true.
I grew up in a the small town of Mansfield, PA and still reside there today. I was born into a loving family of 7. I married at the ripe age of 21 and had a son by the age of 23. They are the rocks of my life. My husband and son work together building homes and other various construction jobs. My son married a beautiful woman on a beautiful day in October of 2012. I am enjoying a daughter and a son now. Guess what..........Heather loves jewelry too!!! She has been helping me as much as she can. What a joy!!!
I have been doing some form of craft since I learned hand and eye coordination. My mom used to try to throw things away and I would pull them back out of the garbage and create things out of them. First it was making doll furniture out of egg cartons or whatever I could get my hands on to make that doll house look great. Seems funny today!! As I got older
I have loved several crafts such as: woodworking, flower arranging, rubber stamping, scrapbooking, polymer clay jewelry and finally, glass jewelry.
I first began by stringing beads together, but I wanted to be different. I did not want to be a designer of just putting beads together. I figured if I designed the actual beads, my jewelry would always be different. So, I began with Polymer clay; they were definitely different!! No two pieces were exactly alike.....but I could not get them to shine..tried many things, but nothing satisfied me.
I was supposed to meet a woman in Corning, NY (50 miles from Home) that was going to teach me the art of wire wrapping. She either forgot about the class or I had the wrong day. At the time I was working in Painted Post full time and was to be going to work at 4:00pm that night. Well it is only 9:00am and I have all day. So I decided to spend some time at Corning Glass. Had not been there since I was a young girl. I believe it was a field trip. I became a member the same day!! I was so excited about glass and the beauty of it all.......I just fell in love with everything and anything made with glass. I did sit down and make one bead with their instruction; it was great fun. I could not stop imagining all the different ways to form the glass to make beads and much more.
I started buying books and more books and then embraced the internet for things I could not find in books. After about a year, I felt confortabe with my first purchase of a torch to make glass beads. With the books near my side, I began to melt glass in the flame and in forms that I have to this day because they were so awful!! LOL!! Just keeping the glass on the mandrel was a chore. After many hours and days of practice, I got pretty good. A year later, I was placing an order through one of my glass vendors and I asked him if he had a minute to talk about glass. He asked me if I had ever heard of glass fusing, "Glass Fusing" what is that? We discussed it for a bit and before I knew it, I was buying every book I could find on fused glass.
My husband during this whole process would keep asking me, "Is this still a hobby?" LOL!! Currently today, I am still scrapbooking, making beautiful cards and floral arrangements for stores locally. Oh, I was also working full time through all of these years. So, I think I was working to pay a few bills and buy any craft items needed, but having the time of my life.
Finally after all the reading and reseach, I purchased my first kiln and began another era of trial and error glass. Still have a few of those pieces as well. Even today some of the glass I put together does not become the masterpiece I had hoped for, and then it turns around and surprises me the next batch. But today I have my own website as you can see and I am currently selling at the Settlement House in Sylvania, PA;Bearly Enough in Mansfield; Eagles Nest in Eaglesmere, PA and finally Corning Glass in Corning, NY!!! Very excited about Corning Glass!!! Funny, I fell in love with glass while looking at all the wonders of glass in their showroom and now I am an artist in that very same showroom. What a dream come true!
Currently I am reaching out to other states. I currently do a list of craft and art shows, home shows and thoroughly love seeing and talking to people about glass. A list of my shows are shown on this website. Just go to my "Show and Events" calander. My customers love the dicrhroic glass especially!! As I talk to people at these shows, I am reminded of all the cheap glass that is coming into this country. I do not know how they do it so cheap, I cannot. But of course they sell thousands of the same pieces.
That brings me to my final paragraph. My pieces are all one of a kind. You will not find them anywhere else. Nowhere!! You may see a similar piece, but never the same. The glass forms it's own beauty. You will benefit from thousands of compliments on your glass jewelry because of it's mysterious look. Dichroic glass is just stunning to see in the sunlight. Many of my return customers tell me they have received so many compliments on the pieces they have purchased.
In closing, thank you for stopping in and I hope to meet you some day or I just might see one of my designs about your chest or a ring on your finger or a set of earrings that you just can't help but notice. So, I will say "Thank you" now an tell you that my dream is to be walking down the street someday and notice one of my designs coming toward me. Thanks again!!