Coming Right Up!


Holiday Sale at My Just Desserts –

Celebrate the Holidays with Handcrafted Gifts of Glass Event!

Friday, Nov., 27, 11-4

Skip the retail stress – have a wonderful lunch & shop for one-of-a-kind treasures at:

My Just Desserts – 31 E. Broadway, Alton, IL

by Kerry Ellen, Local Glass Artist


For me, glass is all about transformation.  You take simple sand, heat it up, and it becomes glass, which can either be liquid or solid, clear or opaque, rough or smooth, cold or hot.  Glass is stronger after it has been fired in the kiln. Dichroic glass both transmits and reflects color.  Sometimes it changes colors after it has been heated: I’ve put in bright orange glass, and when it cooled off, it was neon green. When I open the kiln to see how everything “cooked”, usually, it’s like Christmas morning, full of happy surprises! But if I don’t like the way a piece turned out, I just recycle it and try again. Glass gives you second chances…


ARTEAST – Oct. 17 & 18


I will be at Alton Stained Glassworks this weekend at the studio tour – come see me!


My first ARTEAST experience has now come and gone…first time I have ever displayed work with other artists, or claimed to be somewhat professional…Overall, it was a good experience. Not financially – I didn’t make many sales – but that’s not everything.

There are other kinds of success – I spent time with Lynne Ulett, one of my favorite teachers/friends, talking about glass, one of my favorite subjects…We educated our community and various visitors about warm, hot, and cold glass processes. The ancient art of fused glass is not dead, but experiencing quite a comeback these days, especially with the introduction of dichroic glass.

I was there to witness when Lynne’s inspirational art teacher from 30 years before stepped in to visit and talk and say hello, good job, keep creating…I even had some studio time to work on my own glass projects, which was nice…The two customers I did have were careful, thoughtful, educated shoppers, who knew they were getting something both handmade and beautiful. I knew my work would go to good homes where it would be appreciated…

No, I didn’t make any financial profit, not when you consider my time and materials and preparations – if I didn’t have a dull day job I would most definitely be a starving artist in a bad economy – but I am rich in friends and the joy of being part of something special and the opportunity to learn and practice my art – and if along the way, I create something beautiful, that makes someone else happy, that is good. Maybe it doesn’t pay the bills – or even cover my supplies – but it is a value to hold dear in a world that has too often forgotten the intangible joys.

Will I continue doing these shows? I don’t know – don’t have to decide that today. For now, I got something out of it, and I had put something into it, so I would say an even trade. It was a rich learning experience, and good connections were made.

Kerry Ellen


Broken but beautiful – transformative power of art


Let’s make a pretty simple glass dish.

Cut one 5 inch square of pretty green & teal & white & aqua System 96 COE glass.

Cut another square.  Pick the prettiest side. Oops, I goofed – now I will have to piece it.

OK, use up the black stringer, since you are piecing things now.

That looks good – fire away!

500 degrees, 1 hour

 1000 degrees, 1 hour

Get sidetracked – uh-oh, 1800 degrees –

Glass is bubbling like lava –

Shut down the kiln, close the lid, walk away…

Peek next morning – no surprise –

Everything is in bits & pieces.

Great, colorful, curvy swirls of color –

Just recycle, reuse, repurpose…

Put bits on a black base, arrange,

Try it again.

Watch temp carefully – wait –

Open the lid & it’s breathtaking & beautiful!

Let it cool slowly, gently, wash & display.

Admire my work.

Next day, a big crack runs through –

Stress fracture in the glass.

I’ll glue it & clamp it, fix it –

It’s still so beautiful –

Like people, even a bit cracked,

Beautiful nonetheless.

We all have scars,

Stress fractures,

Even with a fairly solid base to build on.

Life is sometimes hot, hard work.

We are tried in the fire and made strong.

Not perfect, or without damage,

But beautiful in ways never imagined

Before the blaze.

By Kerry Ellen, 2009