New Art Studio!
I didn’t work on many glass projects in 2020, not due to the pandemic, but because I was building a new art studio! Below is a glimpse of my old (when clean) studio V new clean studio!
We Persisted Exhibit ~NOW OPEN to the public for in person visits at the Landmark Center in St. Paul, MN!
After many months of anticipation, “We Persisted” is open to the public! I was so excited to see it in person and had actually forgotten how much I love this piece. Go check it out in person, all the works are impressive! There are numerous other art exhibits going on, be sure and check them out as well for an afternoon full of art AND history!
~OPENING THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8TH~ VIRTUAL OPENING VIA ZOOM
2020 is more than the year of the pandemic, it marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment. The perfect reminder of the importance of voting! The Ramsey County Historical Society exhibition: Persistence: Continuing the Struggle for Suffrage and Equality, 1848-2020, recognizes the champions at all levels of work who struggled to achieve voting rights for women in Minnesota, and whose example still serves activists in our community today. This exhibit commemorate these women and their work in Ramsey County and their contributions to American history and to the rights of women in this exhibition. Click on the link above to register for the zoom opening and be sure and visit this page often for updates! I’m hoping to hear how this exhibit will be virtual after the opening and look forward to seeing it in person myself!
I’m so proud to have been chosen to participate with a custom stained glass portrait of Clara Ueland! I chose Clara because of all her accomplishments, she was a pioneer in so many ways. I hope you will visit the exhibit and learn more about this incredible woman and all the others who fought for our right to vote, for children’s right, for equal rights and who were the stepping stoves for all the fights that needed to be fought in the decades to follow.
About Clara Ueland – a timeline:
One hundred years ago, the U.S. was ever-changing and dynamic. It was a time when women stood up and forever changed the world we live in. The women involved with the suffrage movement were looking for ways to interpret the constitution and connect to those written words personally. Clara Ueland was one of those extraordinary women; she fought for the suffrage movement, equality, education and children’s rights.
By the late 1800’s, Clara’s interest in feminism and advocacy was apparent. She pushed the gender norms of the time by teaching her sons to do housework and encouraging her daughters to go to college. She established the first free kindergarten in Minneapolis. In 1892, she campaigned for women to serve on the Minneapolis School Board.
In 1901 she joined the Political equity club of St. Paul and the MN Scandinavian Women Suffrage organization which began her involvement in the suffrage movement.
In 1907 Clara helped found the women’s Club of Minneapolis, a civic club that among other things addressed the need for better health care for those less fortunate and which went on to raise funds that helped launch a public nursing program in St. Paul – one of the first in the nation.
Clara left the Women’s club in 1912 to focus on women’s right to vote. Her commitment and leadership skills lead to her rise within the suffrage movement. in 1913 she founded the Equal Suffrage Organization of Minneapolis and in 1914, Clara organized a suffrage parade in Minneapolis which brought out 2000 marchers. Such was its success that it lead to her role as the president of the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association (MWSA).
As the president of the MWSA Clara once again put her organization skills to work. She formed a group that called directly on the policymakers to enact change, regularly contacted suffrage leaders throughout MN and traveled to outlying communities to support their efforts. As a nod to her leadership, one fellow suffragist referred to her as “the Moses who is leading MN to the promised land.”
After the 19th amendment was passed, Clara attended the first congress of the League of women voters and that same year she became the first president of the Minnesota League of Women’s Voters.
Clara continued to work with the league even after her presidency. She was insistent that her work not only gave women increased rights to vote but lead to an engaged voter voting for the greater good. Once women’s right to vote was secured, she brought her focus back to the rights of children, making sure they were properly educated to become the informed voters of the future. She lead a campaign in 1922 to pass child labor laws.
Clara Ueland was a true pioneer and one of the great women of Minnesota History.
Artist Statement – I was drawn to stained glass at a very young age. Growing up in an artistic family gave me a life-long appreciation of art. I use stained glass as an outlet for creativity and the glass as inspiration, it’s ever-changing; it’s kinetic. The light and color changes depending on the surroundings and gives measureless ways to connect with each piece.
Stained glass is about light and color and the feelings they evoke. I add a modern touch to a centuries-old art form to make it my own through custom patterns and thoughtful use of color and texture.
Creating contemporary portraits in glass which brings out the personality of each subject is especially exciting to me. I hope to portray Clara in a unique way that will draw audiences in to learn more about this visionary woman’s life and how she helped shape the history of Minnesota.
A 2018 City Pages article about Clara Ueland written by Hannah Jones, stood out to me and left me wanting to learn more. “Minneapolis suffragist Clara Ueland was more badass than you, probably”.
Clara Ueland WAS a badass; a Pioneer in many ways. She fought for equality, equal rights, women’s rights and envisioned a time in which a woman could be president; she was a true visionary. Clara turned the suffrage movement in Minnesota around, she righted the boat and steered us to victory. The work of Clara and the rest of the suffragists of her time is celebrated and continues to this day.
As an artist, I will bring Clara’s contributions to life using a non-typical medium to portray this extraordinary woman from our history. Using the Tiffany-style of stained glass, I will create a stylized portrait that will evoke emotions and build a personal connection to her.
Below are most of the steps I take when making my art and some photos I took while Creating the portrait of Clara Ueland. Be sure and check back often to see my progress.
1. Pattern Sketching –When making my custom patterns, I first research the subject, look for inspiration and work on sketches. Once I am happy with the direction of a sketch I then enlarge it to the final size. From there, I spend weeks, sometimes months, editing the pattern down to its simplest form that best portrays the subject matter.
2. Glass Shopping – I love the glass shopping step! The glass sheets themselves are amazing pieces of art and vary in color, texture, pattern and light. My glass shop of choice is Sleepy Eye Stained Glass in Sleepy Eye, MN. When in need of glass, I take a day off work and head across the state to buy glass. Their selection in enormous and the customer service is the best; I easily spend 3-4 hours, leisurely browsing each section.
3. Pattern Making – I use a light box to trace my final sketch on to contact paper. To cut the actual pattern pieces I use a special scissors made for soldered stained glass, it consists of 2 blades with a channel in between that a cuts out space for the solder.
4. Cutting the glass – Once the pattern pieces are cut out, they are adhered to the sheets of glass. I use a ring saw to cut my pieces – probably the best investment in my art so far. I used a hand held cutter for the past 20 years but I wanted more freedom with my patterns, to make more intricate cuts in my custom designs and not waste so much glass from all my mistakes.
5. Assembling the pieces together – I approached this project a little different than I normally do. I wanted to use the colors of the suffrage movement which were white, gold and purple but couldn’t choose between a dark or light background. Ultimately, I cut out pieces for both color ways and went through a lot of trial and error. In the end I used far less purple because a- it looked a little too much like the vikings and b- I wanted it to be light and bright and really match the suffragists look.
6. Copper Foil – Once the pieces are put back together (much like a puzzle) comes the foiling step. Coper foil tape is adhered evenly to the edges of each piece of glass.
7. Solder – A chemical called Flux is added to the foiled seams which allows the molten solder to stick to the copper tape and adhere the pieces together. I use 60/40 lead and a soldering iron with temperature control.
8. Clean and Polish – These steps are important. Up to this step, there’ve been many chemicals used. To clean them off, I use a special flux remover and rinse with distilled water, then polish. I find this first application of polish gives me a far nicer and consistent application of the patina.
9. Patina – A chemical reaction happens when a patina chemical is applied to the solder and instantly changes its color. Historically I have used black but most recently I’ve switched to a bright copper color as it gives it a nice modern look and feel. I have green as well but so far that just turns out more of a light grey color for me so I have chosen not to use it. Patina is not a necessary step, without it the solder seams remain silver.
10. Polish – Polish is a very important last step. I use a car polish, rub it on and let sit. Once it has a cloudy film-like look, I buff it off. Much like with a car, polishing stained glass gives a necessary coat of protection and gives it a beautiful finished shine.
11. frame – Lead came can be used or a traditional frame of wood or other materials. I love finishing my projects with a quality frame and have been using Rochester Stained glass for my custom frames and they always turn out amazing and very well-made.
Misc – During this project my saw blade broke mid cut (I had another one on hand so it didn’t slow me down). After soldering side 1, I noticed there was a crack in the gold lapel. Sometimes this happens, even with all the precautions one might take. I was soldering in the garage and I think it was just too cold and the heat of the iron cracked the glass. Luckily I had enough to cut out a replacement piece as this was special edition glass that I would not have been able to match. My next step, once it warms up just a little more, is to replace that color and solder side 2.
In this 2020 election year and 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote, it’s even more important than ever to remember that one person CAN make a difference. Please be sure and VOTE this year!
Thanks for visiting,