Some Glass Philosophy

  One of the things I love about making fused glass pieces is the frequent opportunities to practice problem solving … if I let the glass get too hot, sometimes it creates a bubble – which I can incorporate into a design, where a 3-D look will work … if a piece gets lopsided, I can re-fuse it – glass gives me second chances … if I get kiln paper ashes on the back of a piece, I can “fix” it many ways – scraping/filing the white off, fusing the piece on top of another piece so the ash doesn’t show, gluing a decorative metal backing on the piece … if a piece cracks, I can add melt it down and fuse again … if my cuts are not straight enough, I can do a wire-wrap to distract the eye … or call it “an artistic choice” – and sometimes it really is! … If a decal doesn’t look right, sometimes I can use another one over the top and re-fire … and sometimes, things don’t turn out how I expected them to, but they will work perfectly for another idea (just not my original one) …

Not all my pieces require this extra TLC … and sometimes, what I thought were mistakes are perfect in themselves, just not what I had planned … Often glass turns a color I didn’t expect when it is fired – which can be disappointing, but it also causes me to let go of imposed limits and perfectionism, and try to see things and value them for what they are, not just what I anticipated … and sometimes, they turn out better than I could have imagined … I try to go with the flow … it’s a good lesson for me, in life, and in glasswork …


Welcome to the Garden!

Historic Elsah Garden Tour
Saturday June 19, 2010
11 am to 4 pm
Tickets $12 – Limited Number

Elsah is known as “town that time forgot” and many visitors have walked through its picturesque streets and admired the 19th century architecture of the village. Many of the residents of Elsah have added to its beauty by creating and maintaining lovely gardens which are not normally accessible to visitors. In a special event sponsored by the Elsah Historic Foundation visitors can tour eight of Elsah’s private gardens. So park your car, step back in time, and take a stroll in a village that represents a wonderful sense of history.

There will be no need to pack a lunch or wonder where to eat because the folks from My Just Desserts in Alton will be serving their delicious fare at Farley’s Music Hall. Food will also be available at Jeremiah’s on LaSalle Street. Specialty plants from local nurseries and from local gardens will be available for sale.

Ticket information
Tickets are $12 and there is a limited number available
Tickets can be purchased at the Alton Convention & Visitor’s Center at Piasa Street and Broadway in downtown Alton, My Just Deserts in Alton, Green Tree Inn in Elsah, the Village of Elsah Museum, and all Jersey State Bank locations.

I will be there, too, at the Music Hall, with garden-themed jewelry & glass items, plant pot stickers, magnets, small dishes, and little tiles, such as this poppy tile/trivet ($10).

Bio/Artist Statement

Kerry Ellen, Glass Artist

(Cell) 314-952-8872


Glass Art Web Site:

Etsy Store:


Ever since I heard my Swedish ancestors may have been glassblowers, I have been fascinated by glass.  I have always admired Tiffany and Steuben, but I saw myself mainly as a creative writer, not a visual artist.  About five years ago I took a flamework beadmaking class – which led to a stained glass class – which led to a fused glass class.  Working with hot, cold, and warm colorful glass provides a much-appreciated creative outlet from my day job as a technical writer for Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.  Glass offers endless possibilities, is re-usable, and recyclable.  I see the world more beautifully through the medium and mystery of glass.


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…


B.S., Organizational Leadership, Greenville College, Greenville, Illinois, 2004

Flamework Beadmaking – Alton Stained Glassworks – Lynne Ulett – 2005

Stained Glass – Alton Stained Glassworks – Lynne Ulett – 2006

Fused Glass – Alton Stained Glassworks – Lynne Ulett – 2008

American Glass Guild Workshop, Buffalo, New York – 2009


ARTEAST, October, 2009

ARTEAST, Small Works Exhibit, Jacoby Arts Center, October, 2009

Jacoby Arts Center, Juried Show, July, 2010 (scheduled)

ARTEAST, October, 2010 (scheduled)

ARTEAST, Small Works Exhibit, Jacoby Arts Center, October, 2010 (scheduled)


Various commissions for private collections.


The Stained Glass News (contributed a piece about bead-making), 2006


Donations of artwork to charitable groups to raise money include the Susan G.Komen Foundation,  Community Hope Center, leukemia and cancer research, schools, Historic Elsah Foundation, etc.


Jacoby Arts Center (as a glass artist), Madison County Arts Council (as a creative writer)

Soul Food Café (online community of artists and writers)