Upstate artist Judy Martin takes inspiration for her kiln-fired painted fused glass from nature, which can be seen in her upcoming exhibition, “Daydreams: Wish You Were Here,” May 2 through 27 in Gallery II of the Artists Collective | Spartanburg. A reception is planned for Thursday, May 18, as part of ArtWalk Spartanburg.
“I am always inspired by nature. I love the movements of the water as well as the leaves on a tree,” says Martin, who has been a fused glass artist for 18 years. “The colors of spring always spark something. People generally don’t see all the different shades of green there are on the emerging leaves.”
Martin started her glass art with stained glass, then moved into “more texture and movement with glass fusing. In 2020, when I had nothing to do but learn, I did. I took an online class from a great glass artist in South Africa, Marguerite Beneke. I learned how to paint on glass with glass.
This form of art is what I have enjoyed for the longest and I don’t see myself going to another form. This gives me the chance to try to put the beauty of nature into my love of glass.
In the exhibition, visitors will see paintings of oceans, lakes, land and mountains. “The waves of the ocean, the easy movements in a lake, the quiet of the mountains and the awe of nature,” Martin continues. “These paintings have been painted on glass with glass. Painting on glass means I can make them into different shapes once they have been kiln fired together. Visitors to the exhibit will see wall hangings as well as shallow vessels.
“This work is now what I am focusing on,” she adds. “As I have learned glass fusing I have made things from bowls, plates, lamps and many other things. Now with the painting I can put a painting on these same things.”
Martin says she wants visitors to “understand that this is kiln fired glass that has been painted with glass and fired together. It will be melted together and cannot be scratched off,” she adds. “This type of art is not a surface treatment but has been painted on a sheet of glass with glass. The painted pieces are fired in a kiln at temperatures from 1,200 to 1,400 degrees. This is created in steps and fired up to 4 times to get to the final piece that is showing.”
Martin says the exhibition took about a year for her to create. “Traveling and looking at nature, there is so much to use. I start on one subject and switch to another while they are being fired.”
Moving from a small village in western New York to Upstate South Carolina has given her more art opportunities, says Martin, a self-taught artist who has been a member of the Artists Collective | Spartanburg for about five years. Her work has been shown in Spartanburg at the Collective, the Clemson Art Center and the Anderson Arts Center. She has had a piece of art accepted to ArtFields in Lake City, South Carolina and currently has a piece on display in Charleston for the Piccolo Spoleto Festival.
The 30 pieces in the upcoming exhibition will be offered for purchase with prices ranging from $30 to $800.
“I enjoy having an exhibit at the Artists Collective | Spartanburg each year as my work changes, Martin says. “New faces come in as the years tick on. I enjoy the Collective for the other artists and the functions we have, including the annual juried show and the Open Doors.”