Artists In The Garden V: Barbara Koteles of Glorious Glass Garden

Welcome to the fifth of a series of interviews about artists who garden. Today's interview will be with Barbara Koteles of Glorious Glass Garden, a glass artist.

1. What is your art, hobby or craft? How did you come to creating it?

My 24/7 job is teaching design and Art History, and my hobby/craft is fusing glass.

About 10 years ago, I began to hear about artists fusing glass using kilns. Our school had a kiln and scrap glass, so I experimented--unsuccessfully. Then I obtained a grant to go to Portland to a Hot Glass Horizons workshop, where I got it all figured out! Well, sort of...I've been fusing ever since, mostly experimental pieces.

2. What is your inspiration?

My inspiration is the unknown--I've fused a dollar bill between two pieces of glass, toothpaste, orange peel, pebbles, dried leaves, etc.--and tried all sorts of techniques to reshape glass, often heating it up to 5 times for the final result.

3. How does your garden or nature influence your art?

One day I gazed upon my garden (one that had been planted by the previous owner) and realized that in an abstract way, the flowers and leaves were artistic elements, and the laws governing design could apply to them. The following Spring, I began researching the bloom time of certain flowers, and rearranged and added a few things so that I would have blooms from Spring through Fall. I planted flowers with tiny profuse blooms next to taller flowers with large single blooms, sorted the greens of the leaves, and finally arranged all for stepped heights. Of course, this took several years! Now I tweak the colors, but most everything else is done. Next Spring, I'm making another garden so I have something to do!

4. Will you share a picture or pictures of your favorite plant?

My favorite plant, this one is a peach colored hibiscus near the aqua butterfly feeder.

5. Do you have a favorite public garden to recommend?

I would recommend Kew Gardens in or near London, I believe, if you ever get the chance!

Barbara, I agree with you that Kew Gardens is a lovely garden to visit. I have added a personal photo of my 2006 trip to Kew and the Chihuly glass exhibit.

6. Do you have any photos of your art in the garden to share?

7. What is the best lesson you have learned from the garden or nature?

The best lesson I have learned from nature is patience!

8. Do you have a gardening tip to share with fellow gardeners?

My gardening tip: As I mentioned, my favorite plant is the hibiscus. HOWEVER, they attract Japanese beetles by the hundreds, which is a terrible problem. I read that the gardenia tree repels them, and I love the beautiful soft and creamy petals and the strong scent. I planted one this year, and it was the focal point of my garden! All my colorful feeders and bird baths look marvelous around it! There are drawbacks, though: in my zone, the tree has to be taken indoors, where it will bloom if there is a lot of light. It is a finicky plant to grow; at times my beautiful blooms fell off before they opened. See why gardening has taught me patience? LOL I may try again next year. At least I had barely any Japanese beetles, so that was good!

9. Show us your favorite item in your etsy shop.

Blue Finch Birdbath

10. Share a favorite item from another etsy shop.

Design by Irmae

Because it is sculpturally perfect, like a flower, it is this little black satin dress.

Click on photo for more information.

Barbara, I thank you for sharing your creative inspiration and glass creations with us!

Thanks for visiting, please leave a comment if you'd like and stay tuned for the next "Artists in the Garden" interview.


Cathy said...

Japan Beetles are attracted to almost
anything that grows, if you get rid
of the grubs in the ground by using
milky spores they will disappear
within a year. I had a terrible infestation of those beetles and almost lost my garden until my mother
who is an avid gardener told me how
to get rid of Japanese Beetles.
I am an Artist and a Gardener too
but only on paper. :)

Linda Lunda said...

That art is amazing! STUNNING!!!
I would so bad want one of those birdbath in my garden.

Petra said...

So wonderful pictures and colourful glassdesign.
Have a nice weekend, Petra

tina said...

The glass bird and butterfly feeders are wonderful. They'd fit right in to my garden. I also like the tip of planting the gardenia near the hibiscus. I bought my first hibiscus last fall so I am going to have to put the gardenia near it as I'd hate for the Japanese beetles to eat it all up. Thanks and what a wonderful meshing of glass crafting and gardening Barbara.

Sue said...

I like her work!

barbaragk said...

Karrita, looking at your photo of Kew Gardens, with Chihuly's glass art, made me SO want to fly off to England again!

I love how you represented my work, and in case anyone got the wrong idea, I planted the gardenia tree INSTEAD of a hibiscus tree this past summer, not near it!

HOWEVER, I think I'm going to go back to planting a hibiscus again, and try Cathy's suggestion of the milky spores.


Gunilla said...

Fantastic art. I really like the birdbath, the blue one is my favorite. I hope that i would own one some day.:o)



missbreezysbox said...

Love the garden & the feeders. It's hard growing anything in Vegas. I'm still working at it. Iris's & some cacti are the only things I haven't killed.

Darla said...

I can't get your latest post to come up!

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

What beautiful glass - and it sits so nicely with plants.
Thank you Karrita for another interesting interview.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

I love your artists in the garden series. I especially love glass. I've been to Kew but don't remember the Chihuly works, but have seen them in a conservatory in Columbus and in an art exhibit it Kalamazoo. That's the only exhibit I've ever seen where I wanted to pay MORE as I exited--that's how good it was (and I'm really cheap!)

Anonymous said...

The beauty of Barb's creations comes from inside.


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