Interview with Feral Glass

I have always loved stained glass, but the first time I saw Feral Glass's shop, I knew I was looking at something I had never seen before. He creates glass works of art that are meant to be placed outside, like it is growing out of the ground! Here is a little more about the artist! Feral Glass also has a blog showcasing some of his work as well.

I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of central Virginia. My studio has a wall of sliding glass doors, looking out over the mountains.  I got into making garden glass in order to make the most of all the sunlight I get here. In the winter, when my flower gardens would go to sleep, all that great sunlight was just going to waste.  So I started experimenting with how to get stained glass to look good and survive year-round in my gardens.

How did you find Etsy? How long have you been selling on Etsy?
I learned about Etsy from a jeweler I met at my first craft fair. I checked out her web site and was impressed by the format and the ease of getting set up.

How would you describe your style? What inspires you?
I am inspired by something Alexander Calder said about his mobiles. He wanted Nature to be a co-creator with the artist.  When I faced the problem of wind resistance in my larger outdoor panels, I thought of how Calder might approach the problem. So instead of fighting Mother Nature, I adapted my art to be “at one with the elements”, with the wind passing through with no ill effects.
I have a stronger background in sciences than I do in art. So I approached my project with an experimentalist’s mind-set. I would do things three different ways, place them outdoors for all four seasons, and then see which method had worked best.  About three years of expensive experimentation were necessary before I was confident my creations were perfected.

Have you had any mentors, or are you self taught?
I am self-taught because I am doing what others have not tried before. When I first started, I asked a lot of glass artists and they all said that they don’t make stained glass for outdoors. I then asked the metal sculpture welders, who said they never had worked with glass.  So I got the video from the library and my notebook to take notes, and began to experiment.

What is it about working with glass that you love the most?
I love the way these look, shining so brightly in the sun and changing all day as the sun moves past.   Even on cloudy days, the glass adds so much to me viewscape.

Do you sell more at one time of year than others?
I sell a lot as gifts in the spring and the X-mas season. The gardeners get them for themselves in the fall, when the flowers fade and they look for something colorful to carry them through the colder months.   I made my art at first, especially for the winter. Then I realized they look grand all year-round.

Do you have a favorite item you have made?

I do have a couple of personal favorites that I have made. “Chagall’s Angel”, "Homage to Absinthe” and “Gravity Games” being amongst the favorites.  But like any parent, I love all my “children”. I also like doing custom work for people, because it keeps me from falling into a rut. I like listening to the client’s needs and then constructing a fabulous piece to fit their space.

What is the best reaction you have gotten from one of your pieces?

I have gotten so many great comments from people. The return customers are the best compliment.  People will get one Garden Spirit, love it so much that they come back and get a herd of them.  I give a good discount if you buy a small or large herd of glass.