Updated: Sep 17
Hi, Megan. For our readers, I met you and your partner Lee when you both became my new neighbors! When did you start creating and in what forms? How long have you been working in stained glass?
I've always loved making art. Starting in elementary school, I was enthusiastic for every art lesson, including drawing and oil painting. Art education continued at university with a minor in Studio Art and Art History. Eight years ago, my art journey began working in glass with mosaics, then moving to fusing, glassblowing, enameling, and now stained glass. There are many different processes of using glass and I’m excited to explore it all.
What inspires your stained glass designs and other artistic endeavors?
Many parts come together to inspire my work. My passion for photography is one source. If I'm making stained glass for myself, I use my photos. An example is using images of places where I've traveled. Doing a project of a loved one holds special meaning. When working on commissions or projects for friends, I research their project: the style and year their home was built; what images are important to them; and color palette. In stained glass, its’ beauty expands when it fits the existing patterns of that time period. Ultimately, any pattern or idea can be altered to fit personal preferences in creating a beautiful piece.
How do other parts of your life influence your stained glass creation?
The need to create art and belong in a creative community has been an important part of my life. From the moment I walked into the Pittsburgh Glass Center (PGC), I discovered a community space that values artists. My first workshop experience led to an eight-week class; I knew I was hooked on using glass. I’ve been a part of the warm shop for eight years as a stained glass, mosaic, and fusing student, assistant, and instructor. The people I’ve met at PGC have become close friends and have given me inspiration. Once after doing a summer intensive open studio, I had a heart-felt intuitive moment of PGC’s value. Years later, PGC welcomed my partner and me to host an unforgettable experience, our wedding celebration in their space.
You understand the joy and importance of creating art in your life. Some people have a longing to do art. Even after being encouraged to try, a person may answer, “I’m not artistic.” What advice would you give to help release fears?
Art and creative expression are skills that are to be exercised. I often hear student frustration after a few minutes of learning to cut glass say, "I'm not good at this.” To be good at something like stained glass takes thousands of cuts and years of practice. It's difficult to be new at something as an adult learner. To develop art skills, join a class. Other students experience the same frustrations; group learning and collaboration is supportive. As an artist at any skill level, having a community of learners helps provide guidance through the motivations received from others' creativity.
—Written by Amanda L. Mottorn, 2022 ©, an emerging author of Finding Moksha: One Woman’s Path in Uncertain Times and Artist at Modern Moksha Designs & Publishing.