Mary Zoller Lightner
The Creative Process
I use a variety of methods to create art. The most recent one I have learned is called sgraffito, originating with Italian glass artists. It refers to using glass powder to paint. This is like painting with colored air and quite challenging. I used this technique exclusively with two three-dimensional pieces; “Sierra’s” and “Birds in Flight.”
I use a many different types of glass (e.g., transparent, opaque, streaky, striker) and in many forms (i.e, powder, frit, stringers).
Fusing glass requires knowledge of viscosity (the speed and way in which glass melts) and how it reacts with other glass. This can produce a variety of effects, some of which can be controlled but may still result in surprises.
When I make jewelry, I layer dichroic glass to create depth and rich color. Sometimes use this expensive, sparkly, often textured glass in combination with powders, frit or murrini to make pendants.
I enjoy showing people my studio and how I make art. I also like donating my artwork to worthy causes, such as Mountain True.
Artist Statement and Resume
Retirement has provided me with an opportunity to return to a long lost love; art. When I took a class at the John Campbell Folk School in glass fusing, my passion for glass art was awakened. Ever since then I have been learning as much as I can about this art form, which is a science as well as a creative endeavor.
There are several sources of inspiration. One is the glass itself, as I look to show off its inherent qualities to their best advantage. Sometimes it is an image, which I look to glass to enhance. Other times it is nature, as I strive to capture a moment I have experienced that has touched me in the medium of glass. Always it is the light in glass that inspires, whether it be the transparency or reflections, the depth, dimensions or color. It has a spiritual quality for me. I strive to give life to the glass and capture light.
I am constantly experimenting, learning and expanding my horizons and playing with it in its different forms. It is an endless source of creative exploration and expands and enriches my life greatly.
Awards and Formal Study
First Place, Three-Dimensional Art, Juried show, Crossroads Arts Center, Richmond, VA, January 2020
Glass Jewelry, John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC 2017
Glass Fusing, William Holland School of Lapidary Arts, 2018
Creating Glass with Dimension, Paul Messink, AAE Glass, Cape Coral, FL One week, 2018
Painting with Glass, Micheal Janis, Penland School of Craft, Penland, NC One week, 2019
Creating Landscapes in Glass, Fred Buxton, Little Light Glass, Nashville, TN One week, 2019
Landscapes and Seascapes Master Class with Claire Hall, November 2020
Special Effects, Bonnie Celeste, Bullseye Glass, December 2020