Glass artist Cheryl Sattler has been called everything from “artsy-craftsy” to “mentally ambidextrous.” She appreciates the intricacies of making glass into art but is always seeking new and thrilling challenges.
While mounting her portion of a two-person art exhibition with watercolorist Penny G. Anderson at the Artport Gallery, Sattler’s attentions are simultaneously devoted to glass and studying for her law degree. Currently, she’s enrolled in law school in hopes of bolstering her ability to make a difference in her career working on federal education for districts and schools.
“I’m willing to kick down any barrier I have to,” says Sattler. “I think the things that are worth doing, generally, are hard. I value that because I get restless and I don’t like to repeat myself.”
Few mediums other than glass best live up to the reputation of difficulty, and according to Sattler, that’s what keeps her interested. Inherently linked with the aesthetics of color, value, shape, and form, she enjoys figuring out how to work with huge machines like the kiln, and the challenge of not only imagining what to create but how to go about making it.
She’s sheared a nerve in her finger and been burnt many times, but continuously returns to the kiln for processes that can take any number of days, weeks, or months. She jokes that while it’s not like an “easy bake oven,” diligence and patience are key in being a successful glass artist.
“I always tell people blood burns off in the kiln,” Sattler says with a smile. “And so do sweat and tears because there’s a lot of those, too.”
From a young age, Sattler always enjoyed experimenting with everything from liquid embroidery to making beaded clothing for dolls with the encouragement of her mother and inspiration from her grandmother, a quilter.
She majored in communications at Florida State University with an interest in journalism, until classes in typography and graphic design pointed her toward an art minor. She continued down a crafts-driven path, painting her own
clothes and learning to weave baskets until a brush with poison ivy after gathering wild grapevine turned her sights toward something new.
For her birthday in 1999, Sattler decided to gift herself a new adventure in the arts: glass. She started small with a bead-making workshop and was delighted by the little fish she spun into existence on a long, metal mandrel. She was excit-ed to bring the beads home to show her husband but instead learned a valuable lesson about the cooling process when her fish lost their fins and lips during the car ride home.
“I knew two things after that class—that I would never again make something that small and that I would always work in glass,” says Sattler. “I also learned that it will be done when it’s done and that it takes the time that it takes.”
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