By Melody Reed, Glass Axis Executive Director
Sarah Todd is an independent working artist, a Glass Axis instructor in hot and fused glass, an instructor in hot glass at Franklin Park Conservatory and serves on the Glass Axis staff as a studio technician. She and her work will be appearing during the Glass Axis Holiday Sale, Dec. 12-15, and the Mini Vitro exhibition (through Jan. 4). We sat down with Sarah to talk about how she got her start in glass and where she expects this medium to take her in the future.
Melody: Very few artists grow up knowing that they are going to specialize in glass. Where and how did your interest in glass start?
Sarah: I had no idea that glass would be my eventual medium. Originally, when I started college I was focused more on a degree in art education, so I could teach other about how great art is. During one of the fundamental classes I attended freshman year, we worked with wood, which I loved. I started as a double major in craft and material studies and art education. Early on, I took an intro glass class because I had some spare credit time. I was hooked. There’s nothing quite like glass, the heat, the feel of working with it, I couldn’t stop. So, terrifying my parents, I dropped my education degree and went all in on glass. I still teach, but in a much more satisfying way now.
Melody: Glass artists travel all over to learn more about their art and they still have the chance to study with some of the pioneers in studio art glass. Where have your studies taken you?
Sarah: I’ve worked at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York; the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia; and at Pilchuck Glass School (founded by Dale Chihuly) in Stanwood, Washington. I also taught at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Virginia shortly before I moved to Ohio. All wonderful places with great people.
Melody: What draws you to teaching classes in glass?
Sarah: I love how challenging and rewarding glass can be. After all the work, people end up with beautiful objects, and I’m giving students a very unique and fun experience. I love the look on people’s faces when I tell them they’re holding essentially a metal stick with 2,000 degree goo on the end, and that we’re going to turn that into an awesome object they’ll be able to use or display in their home.
Melody: Glass has been predominately a male-dominated art form. What advice to you have for women who are interested in getting involved and noticed for their glass art?
Sarah: Just put yourself out there and apply for everything. People recognize good art when they see it, and I know a ton of female glass artists who are making waves and getting a lot of attention in the industry. Places like Pilchuck Glass School and Corning offer emerging artists funding, creative studio residencies and art shows. They’re always looking for fresh new artists to display and help kick-start their careers.
Melody: Besides its obvious awesomeness, what brought you to Columbus?
Sarah: Its funny actually, I moved to be with my boyfriend. We met on a dating app; I was living with my parents in Virginia and he was living in a town in West Virginia. After talking for a few months and a couple visits we both looked into cities that offered jobs in our respective fields and I found out that Glass Axis here in Columbus was hiring. He found work in his field here and I settled into working at the studio.
Melody: What’s the best thing about the Columbus art scene right now?
Sarah: Columbus is vibrant and fun and there are tons of shows and fantastic people making great things happen. The street festivals and fairs happening virtually every weekend around the city allow for exploring different aspects of the Columbus community and getting involved. I’ve loved being a part of this fantastic community.
Sarah’s work will be on display in the upcoming Glass Axis gallery show, Mini Vitro, and during the annual Glass Axis Holiday Sale. She will be teaching a variety of classes at Glass Axis throughout November and December. A listing of all available classes is available online at www.glassaxis.org.