As a graduation gift for finally completing my master’s degree, I decided to sign up for a weekend workshop to learn how to work with fused glass. A quick search on the Internet led me to so much more than I ever imagined. After E-mailing artist and studio owner Donna Sarafis, we made arrangements for a weekend workshop which would introduce me to the art of working with fused and dichroic glass.
Dancing Light Fused Glass Studio is nestled in the woods just north of the historic resting place of Sam Houston in Huntsville, TX. Donna and her husband and partner John Sarafis have created a delightful retreat for those looking to develop and explore their creative side. Our session began with the history of glass making. I learned that warm glass uses a kiln to join pieces together. It is an ancient art form known to have existed as early as the second millennium B.C. in Mesopotamia. Warm glass techniques, however, were virtually lost by the second or third century A.D. Rediscovered in the nineteenth century, its popularity grew slowly until the mid 1974 when 3 glass blowers in Oregon founded Bullseye Glass and led the way in developing a line of “tested compatible” glass. Since that time, there has been an explosion in the fused glass world.
My history of glass lesson soon led to a hands on experience of learning to make pendants, earrings and a stand-alone piece. While we worked together and got to know one another, it was very evident that John and Donna Sarafis are very special, unique individuals who care about all those who come into their lives. Donna shared that she feels fortunate to be a part of this movement as it has allowed her to combine her talent with painting to create one-of-a-kind, fused glass pieces. This unique talent led them to win a national contest sponsored by Delphi Glass, one of the largest retailers of glass in America. Donna and John were awarded first place in the kiln-formed (fused) category of their annual Festival Contest for their “48 x 30” three-piece mural, Texas Oaks in the Wildflowers. I discovered that Donna and John’s unique work has been accepted in Hanson Galleries, Houston, Clarksville Pottery, Austin, Eclectic on the River Walk, San Antonio, Curious Glass, Georgetown, Linda Watkins Gallery, Conroe, and soon to be in the Texas Visual Arts Association Gallery in the Plaza of the Americas, Dallas. Their pieces are now owned by Harlan Crow and Crow Holdings, Dallas, and other private collections throughout the US. Not only do they design original, one-of-a-kind pieces for sale in galleries and shows, but they offer custom work as well.
Donna’s artistic side is so closely intertwined with her spirituality, by the end of the first day, it was clear that she was not only sharing her talent with me but that she truly cared about me as an individual. I found myself opening up to this woman I had only known for a few hours yet felt that we had been friends forever. I later discovered that everyone that John and Donna come in contact with feel exactly same way.
I highly encourage anyone looking for a unique, creative and relaxing experience to get in touch with Donna or John to arrange a custom class just like I did. Pretty soon, you too will be creating one of a kind, unique fused glass pieces and the process will assist you in winding down from the daily grind while helping you discover your creative side. (www.dancinglightfusedglass.com)