Hawken House Christmas Market November 4 in Webster Groves!!

Click for the When & Where —Hawken Christmas Market 2012 8.5×11 Poster-2

Christmas Cluster Necklace and Earrings

Christmas Cluster Necklace and Earrings




May you have the chance to love another, to serve another, to help another grow.

May you find beauty in life without blinding yourself to the darkness where sadness and need hold sway.

May you heal the wounds that you have caused and forgive those wounds that you have received.

May you touch another life in a way that changes it for the better.

This is Christmas, the one time of year when we turn our hearts toward the act of giving. However you celebrate, whatever you believe, may you do your part to keep that legacy alive. It is the best of who we are, and the measure of who we can be.

Take care, my friends. It is a gift to be alive.

 by Kent Nerburn

Life as an Art Form

Go now, and live.
Experience. Dream. Risk. Close your eyes and jump.
Enjoy the freefall. Choose exhilaration over comfort.
Choose magic over predictability. Choose potential over safety.
Wake up to the magic of everyday life.
Make friends with your intuition. Trust your gut.
Discover the beauty of uncertainty.
Know yourself fully before you make promises to another.
Make millions of mistakes so that you will know how to choose what you really need.
Know when to hold on and when to let go.
Love hard and often and without reservation.
Seek knowledge.
Open yourself to possibilities.
Keep your heart open, your head high and your spirit free.
Embrace your darkness along with your light.
Be wrong every once in awhile and don’t be afraid to admit it.
Awaken to the brilliance in ordinary moments.
Tell the truth about yourself no matter what the cost.
Own your reality without apology.
See goodness in the world.
Be bold. Be fierce. Be grateful.
Be wild, crazy and gloriously free.
Be you.
Go now, and live.
© Jeanette LeBlanc

I dream of glass…


I dream of glass – things I want to make, things I want to try, projects that went well, what I would do differently next time…

I love sunlight coming through stained glass and light bouncing off dichroic glass earrings and pendants I made when I see someone else wearing my work.

I love to look in the kiln and see the heat and the glass starts to bend and flow.

I dream of things that don’t exist and how I’d like to take a concept and give it life, with glass as my medium.  This morning I was dreaming of doing chanoyu (Japanese Tea Ceremony) in glass – the spirit of the ritual, not tea pot and cups – I have some ideas…

When I don’t create I get crabby – just ask my partner!  I wander about the house puttering and sighing and complaining that no one cares about my work, that the world really doesn’t need another piece of glass jewelry or a tile or a trinket – the world may not need it, but I need to express it – the muse always gets her way, sooner or later.

When I “do” glass I am playing, learning, burning, cutting, mixing, matching, contrasting, inventing, solving problems, testing colors, trying techniques, comparing textures, wondering what would happen if…

Sometimes I am amazed at the beauty of what I’ve made – and sometimes I quietly sweep the exploded scraps into the wastebasket – usually I find a way to re-use what didn’t work out how I intended – but always, always, glass teaches me – about beauty and fragility and strength and heat and patience and endurance and knowing when to stop, flash vent, cool down, and walk away slowly and let the glass anneal (heal itself with time) .

Kerry Ellen 2011

My Wish List Glassblowing Experience

17 January 2011
The next time you raise a glass, stop and be aware that you are holding a small miracle in your hand. That ordinary drinking glass, made of sand and silica, heated over 2000 degrees, is an amazing feat of technology, physics, poetry, and determination.
It was on my things-to-try-before-I-die list, so I saved up my birthday and Christmas gift certificates, added some of my own cash, and did something I’ve always wanted to do:  I took a glassblowing class.

I tried a 6-hour intensive glass-blowing class this weekend at Third Degree Glass Factory in St. Louis, Missouri. I have always loved glass, been intrigued with glassblowing, thought because my Swedish ancestors worked in glass factories, maybe I would have the knack. Sadly, I learned that gaffer skills are not hereditary. I also learned that glassblowing is hot, hard, fast-paced work, and not for someone who is no longer a young’n and fairly out of shape.
I have tried flameworking (lampworking), stained glass, fused glass, and now hot shop and glassblowing. So far fused glass is where I excel. So be it. Even with the teacher’s help, I couldn’t seem to control the hot glass very well. I could not master techniques, esp. the blowing part. And, as the day went on, and I became more tired and frustrated, I could not hold the heavy rods steady and level, which is very important.
I did fine on the first technique, making a punty. A small glob of glass, gently shaped. Next, trying to make a marble, things started to go wrong. I couldn’t figure out the logistics of sitting on the workbench with a long hot rod in my hands. Then I couldn’t make my jack line; I was holding the tool wrong. I set the jacks down to get a tweezers-full of water to cool it off, didn’t quite make steady contact with the glass, was going to re-do my jack-line, but picked up the hot end of the jacks & burned my left hand. I put ice on it, but it blistered & hurt for the next hour or so.
After the burn, every time I had to get near the furnace or glory hole, my hand burned and I literally couldn’t take the heat. It hurt like hell! I was determined, I kept trying, but I was in pain. That’s when I couldn’t hold the rods steady anymore. I’d touch the door of the glory hole & get schmutz in my glass. One mistake led to another.
Trying to keep the molten glass on center was a challenge – it goes wonky so very quickly, and it is so important. A good life lesson – staying centered is hard, but necessary – once you are off-center, it’s hard to find the right balance again.
I couldn’t get the blow & cap procedure. I couldn’t make my air bubble. I wanted to – it looked so cool when others did it – the bubble expands, it is molten magic. I didn’t have my whole thumb in my mouth, or I couldn’t get a good seal, or – I never did figure it out. I couldn’t blow from my diaphragm, I ran out of air, I couldn’t control my breathing.
We gave up on me getting a bubble, so I couldn’t make a glass. We took my ruined glob of glass, folded it in on itself, left it an organic lump, and let it go at that. I ended up with a $165 paperweight.
Still, I don’t regret the experience. I still love glass and think it is most magic. I admire and RESPECT those who can move with the flow and make something beautiful from heat & gravity & constant energy. I admit it – I couldn’t keep up.
I came home and hugged my kiln – so much easier for me. Warm, kiln-formed glass is a much slower process, that allows for greater control, and I sit down most of the time. I still have so much to explore and learn, so many things I still want to try with fused glass, the possibilities are endless.
We try – we learn – and sometimes, we realize our limitations and applaud those who do what we can only dream.
Kerry Ellen 2011

Dream Green – Eco Friendly Holiday Gifts – Kerry Ellen in the News

Here is the link to the story the local paper (Alton Telegraph) did on my glass art as an eco-friendly gift alternative…Kerry Ellen is the last half of the article…


Dream green: Eco-friendly gifts mean more, cost less Comments 0 | Recommend 0 November 25, 2009 2:07 PM By JILL MOON The Telegraph ALTON —

Sustainable gift-giving, especially in dim economic times, brightens up the season instead of the big box stores’ bottom lines. Eco-friendly gifts tend to be more cost-effective in that they are produced locally, often with recycled materials, and usually are inherently less expensive than store-bought items.

Making gifts for loved ones is even more special, but not everyone has an artist’s touch. Fortunately, there are those artisans who provide eco-friendly gifts at special shows and exhibits. Flea Bags creator Marie Georges, who assembles tote bags from fabric remnants, and Kerry Vincent, a glass artist who owns her own glass art business, Kerry Ellen, are both River Bend artists who took their talents to the next level.

Georges, who also owns Cheesecake Gourmet Desserts and Catering, started Flea Bags in June 2008 at her sister’s suggestion. Georges always loved sewing, cooking, gardening and working with her hands. “Basically, when I’m not cooking, I’m sewing,” Georges proclaimed. While Georges was recovering from surgery, her sister told Georges she should sew and make eco-friendly bags while she was sitting around. “Fabric is expensive, and I knew remnants existed and how to get them,” said Georges, of Alton. Georges gathers fabric samples from furniture stores, upholsterers, interior designers, and from big books that contain samples for drapes, curtains and furnishings. She disassembles the books and recycles all of the components. “It’s not only green to try to get people to ‘go green’ and use the bags for shopping, but it prevents the fabric from going into a landfill, because that’s where it goes,” Georges explained. “I hate to think of how much fabric is in a landfill.” Georges’ Flea Bags serve many more purposes than carrying groceries or retail items. She created several different sizes, including sizes that are perfect for a bottle of wine or two, a lunch from home and gift bags. She features three sizes as market bags for shopping and an even larger size for oversized items. Flea Bags gifts can be had for $20 or less, with most of the bags priced between $10 and $18. “Each bag is totally unique. Flea Bags are like snowflakes — no two are alike,” she said. Last year, Georges sold her Flea Bags at a holiday market held by the Sierra Club at Alton Square and at Edwardsville’s Land of Goshen Community Market on Saturday mornings during its season from May through October. “A friend of mine bought two bags, walked around the market and filled one up for her boss’ birthday,” Georges said. “People use them for all kinds of things. I know a lady who carries her knitting in one.” Georges will have Flea Bags available at the inaugural Edwardsville Holiday Market from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, at the Edwardsville Moose Lodge on Illinois Route 143. More than 25 local and regional artists and craftspeople will show at the market. Many of them are regular vendors of the Goshen Market. Call Georges at (618) 514-1854 for more information or to view her Flea Bags elsewhere.

Vincent, who chose her middle name of Ellen as the second moniker in her business title, began creating art from recycled glass after a neighbor invited her to an art glass class. The neighbor’s husband did not want to go, so it was Vincent’s lucky break in that she discovered her passion for glass work.

Vincent started out “flameworking,” which is creating beads from rods of glass, she explained. Then, she took a class in stained glass and liked that, too. But her sister did stained glass art, and Vincent tried to contain her desire to create the same type of glass art. “Then last year, for my birthday, I got the gift of a fused glass class,” said Vincent, of Alton. “That’s the one that really captured my attention. It’s my passion.”

She describes fusing glass by way of heat as a bit like magic. “Things turn out so beautiful — the mystery,” she said. “I can start with one color, and the heat will make it turn out to be another color.”  Vincent’s artistic interests always were in glass, because her Swedish ancestors were glassblowers, she explained. “I like to burn things — a little bit of the pyro,” joked Vincent, who works full-time as a technical writer for Scott Air Force Base. “This is as far as you can go in the other direction. This is my creative outlet.”

Vincent learned everything she knows about creating glass work from Lynne Ulett, who owns Alton Stained Glass Works at 412 E. Broadway; that’s also where Vincent buys all of her supplies. Ulett teaches through Lewis and Clark Community College.

Vincent makes jewelry and small specialty dishes such as for sushi, cheese boards or simply decoration. Vincent’s items usually sell for less than $25 with sales tax already included. One of Vincent’s friends found the perfect place for a Kerry Ellen piece on a table under recessed lighting, where the dish accents a large oil painting, illuminated by the lamplight.

Last year, Vincent reused stained glass that had blown out from the Concordia Lutheran Church in Cottage Hills during a tornado. “I used salvaged stained glass from its windows and made it into stained glass crosses for members of the church,” Vincent said. Vincent said that nothing goes to waste when working with glass. Broken pieces could make a great beak for a bird figure or texture for an abstract design. “If something turns out differently than I hoped it would, I just throw it back in the kiln and re-fire it,” she said.

Vincent also suggested that sentimental wine bottles from a trip or event can make a great gift by using the process of “slumping,” which flattens the bottle. Thus, it can be used for a cheese board or similar object. Ulett can flatten wine bottles at her store, Alton Stained Glass Works. She reattaches the label, if desired, after slumping.

Vincent will show her most recent Kerry Ellen line from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, at My Just Desserts on East Broadway in Alton, where she will sell most items for half-price, because she is creating a new line. “Get away from the box stores and the retail stress; come down, have some pie and look at stuff,” Vincent said. She also will show her glass art from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, at Webster Groves’ Hawken House, 1155 S. Rock Hill Road. Visit https://kerryellen.wordpress.com/ to see Vincent’s work. jmoon@thetelegraph.com


Recycle, reuse, repurpose – I tried to make a dish, the kiln temperature got way too high, everything bubbled & broke – I let it cool, and tried again – this time using a black base – I love the results!  Still a little stress fractured (I can relate!), the plate cracked once more – epoxy is a beautiful thing…this is as close to making my own glass as I’ve ever come, and it was thrilling!

Kerry Ellen 2009