by Christy Rodriguez de Conte
Glass whisperer Jenny Blaze hammers, shapes, and manipulates glass to create magnificent designs featured at this year’s Artisans in the Garden at Tallahassee Nurseries on Nov. 4.
Natural light can enhance or distort any art form. It can change the hue of an acrylic stroke, add shadows to a sculpture never intended, and even illuminate the sounds of violin strings, but no art form plays with light more than stained glass.
Stained glass comes in varying degrees of clarity and transforms depending on its location. It takes an exceptional artist with a keen sense of the client’s aesthetic and the power behind each element to capture the best possible reflections of light and color. Stained glass artist Jenny Blaze has both.
At a young age, Jenny Blaze found peace and serenity in an art workshop, watching her father create. Her family lived on a small farm in Illinois, where they ran a piano tuning and furniture refinishing business. Blaze, always at her father’s elbow, developed a love for building and shaping artistic pieces. “He taught me that you can find creative joy even in dull work,” says Blaze.
Thus, it is no surprise that Jenny Blaze is now the name and talent behind Jenny Blaze Glass, a custom stained glass studio inspired by Blaze’s love of nature. During the early 2000s, Blaze followed in yet another one of her father’s footsteps and became a park ranger in Carrabelle. She fell in love with Tallahassee’s rural feel and its engulfing greenery. Since then, she has made Tallahassee home and continues to fill it with light, glass, and laughs.
One fateful day decades in Blaze’s past, her mother purchased an old pub window at an auction for only $5. Since the window had a few cracked panels, she did not display it but instead, gave it to Blaze to do with it as she wished. A spark ignited.
“She gave the window to me thinking I might want to turn it into another art piece, and I decided to learn how to repair that single piece,” said Blaze. “My love for stained glass has grown from that day.”
Through trial and error and a lot of deep cuts, Blaze taught herself the art of stained glass. The method of assembling pieces of glass together with lead is a tricky, lengthy process that has been cultivated over thousands of years. First, one begins with a strong sketch and a precise scaled measurement called a cartoon that becomes the blueprint for the final piece.
Read the rest of the article on the Tallahassee Democrat.