Thursday, November 10, 2016

in the studio with janet crosby


Janet is a glass beadmaker and fuser and occasional mosaic-er. She specializes in creating wearable art with fire -- her propane-oxygen torch. Janet grew up and lives in the great Pacific Northwest. Other loves in no particular order: dogs, cats, knitting, watercolor, photography, glass, and everything ocean.


I love seeing how other artists set up their creative space. Can you tell us a little bit your studio?

My studio started out in a barn. My engineer husband built me a space to melt glass in our barn in 2003. I shared this space with wasps, spiders, and the occasional raccoon. It was definitely a no-frills studio, but it was also wonderful and I loved it. I made thousands of beads there over the years. 

I live in a definite 'four season climate' though, and optimal studio times in my uninsulated space were limited. I tried to create most of my work in the thin bands of time during the spring and fall to avoid the scorching temperatures of summer and the sub-zero freezing temperatures of winter. Also, I am older now and less tolerant of these wild swings in temperature.


For years, my husband has wanted to build me an indoor studio. It was me who resisted. Why repeat something that I already had? Would I earn enough with my art to justify it? And my number one concern - would it be safe?

This studio is all that and more. I have the requisite fire extinguisher, propane and CO2 detectors, and a 4-step shut off and disconnect for my propane-oxygen torch. I have a powerful ventilation system that is also an air-temp exchanger so that the incoming fresh air is heated by the outgoing exhaust air. Safe and an energy saver!
What inspires you? What motivates you to create?

Color and the play of light motivate me the most. It is why I feel that I am spread out all over the place -- glass, knitting (yarn!), painting, and photography. Color draws me in and inspires me to explore. I am always looking for new ways to blend various art forms too; glass bead embellishment on a knitted hat or hand-painted notes in the packages I send my customers.


Glass was one of my earliest loves, and still grabs me. I love transparent and semi-transparent glass the best, to see the full effect of the light shining through it. I also love that glass never fades and is basically a moment once molten, now frozen in time.

How do you organize your creative schedule? 

Loosely! ha. I try to set a schedule, but it never seems to happen as I intend. Like most artists, I would love to stay all day in my studio, making stuff. The To Do list for adding new items for sale, keeping track of inventory, and arranging sales on my Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/JanetCrosbyArt/) take up more hours than creating does. 

I strive to balance creating with everything else, but sometimes I just have to go take the dogs for a walk to let ideas percolate and plans solidify.

What is a typical day like for you?

I get up early, get the family out the door, eat breakfast, get beads and glass out of the kiln, then take the dogs for a long hike. Mornings are reserved for writing emails and blog posts, then ... if all works out, I head to the studio in the afternoon.

I like to ship orders the same day if at all possible, so that also happens in the morning. For orders that miss mail call, I try to get them packaged up for shipping out the next morning.

Evenings I relax by painting, doodling, or knitting. Then wrap up with a good book to close out the day.


What are you working on right now?

My comfort zone is making beads, and I push myself trying new color combinations and new types of glass (e.g. silvered glass and the many reactions that you can get in the flame). I am learning new techniques with metals - soldering, enameling, and forming. Trying out new ideas I have for fused glass pieces.  I am also working on improving my watercolor techniques and projects that I can enhance or create using watercolor. I am always looking for ways to mesh different types of art.


My goal for the future is to collaborate with others and create various ways of fundraising money for animals with art. Lots of ideas in my head, now to put them to action. :)

Want to see more of Janet?




All photos by Janet Crosby and Creative Life Spokane.


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