Thursday, July 22, 2010

In the Studio with Glass Elements


Today it’s my pleasure to visit in the studio of Marja Huhta, of Glass Elements. I came to know Marja when we submitted work for the weekly challenge on Thursday Sweet Treat, a great blog by a very special person, Natasha. One week the theme was “Purple Passion.” I had recently lost a dear niece to cancer, and she had a passion for the color purple. So when I saw Marja’s submission, this lovely purple heart, I bought it on the spot, and it will forever remind me of my niece.


I love her work, and I was therefore very happy that Marja agreed to this interview. So … here we go!

FK: What’s your morning “cuppa,” Marja?

Coffee! Preferably locally roasted fair-trade organic coffee. Yes, I’m serious about my coffee. My favorite? Pangaea Organica Coffee

FK: Well, I guess you ARE serious! I’ll pour the coffee while you tell us about your etsy shop and other sites.

My etsy shop is http://www.glasselements.etsy.com/. I’m on Twitter www.twitter.com/mhuhta, Facebook www.facebook.com/glasselements and on flickr www.flickr.com/photos/glasselements.

FK: Here’s some of Marja’s gorgeous work from her flickr site.







FK: Your work is stunning. Did you have formal art training?

I don’t actually have a formal art education background – I went down the path of a traditional science education where I felt (at the time) like there was no time for art!

I spent most of the time during my long science education trying to ignore the call of the artist inside. When I was finally at a point where my career was paying the bills, and I could spend some extra to take art classes at local community art schools, it was like a switch was turned on. The person hiding inside had a way out, and she wasn’t ever going to be quiet again. I’ve tried many mediums during my period of self re-discovery, learning from working artists at non-profit community art centers – including Capitol Hill Arts Workshop in DC, The Art League in VA, and Pratt Fine Art Center in Seattle.




FK: I can relate to that – I wasn’t encouraged to take art seriously when I was young. I was over 30 when I enrolled in college for my art degree! Tell us about your family life.

I live in beautiful Seattle, WA with my husband, Jonathon Colman. Known as a bit of a wanderer by my family and friends – I grew up in CT and have hung my hat in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Washington, DC, three wonderful (but too short) months in Australia, and now in Seattle. Seattle has its hooks in us – we have settled down in our first house and plan to stay for a while! It might be the locally roasted coffee.


FK: Ahhh … now I understand your passion for coffee – you live in Seattle! And a small coincidence – your husband grew up practically next door to me in Ann Arbor, Michigan!




FK: Talk to me about your etsy shop. And do you exhibit or sell anywhere else besides etsy?

I signed up for my etsy shop in Sept 2008. I started selling my work in 2007 to acquaintances, colleagues and friends while I was working a full time job in biotech. After moving across the country from DC to Seattle in May of 2008, I was faced with a generous opportunity: to strike out on my own doing what I love. After several months of preparation, I took the plunge and started selling online at Etsy.

I also participate in local art and craft shows - and I really enjoy them! It is a fantastic way to meet new people, other local artists and craftspeople and share the love of glass directly. I find juried shows are the best venues for showcasing my work.

 

FK: I am really interested in your fused glass technique. Is it possible for you to give a brief explanation of your process?

I use compatible glass from Bullseye Glass Company out of Portland, Oregon for all of my glass work. I design, hand-cut, and layer each piece – whether a small jewelry item or a large platter – before placing it in a kiln and firing to approximately 1500 degrees. I then anneal (cool) the glass slowly for enhanced strength and durability. A typical firing cycle lasts 15 hours. Finally, the beauty of each unique piece is revealed by further cutting and shaping with diamond grinder and a ring saw and then polished by additional firing in the kiln.

FK: You seem to be quite successful selling on etsy, even though there’s a lot of jewelry competition. Do you have any secrets to offer for your success?

I know there is a lot of advice floating out there specific to Etsy – learn to take great photos, update your shop often, renew items if you can’t list new things, etc. - all advice that I’ve taken to heart and done myself.

I also have a secret support group – my local Etsy street team - which has been a fantastic resource for advice and expertise!




FK: Where’s your “quiet place” when you need a break from creating – somewhere you go to rest, refresh, meditate?

If I’m home, my rest place is usually vegetating in front of the TV, catching up on some favorite shows. If people are dancing, I’m watching it. Away from home, any time I can get out in nature and enjoy a hike or a bike ride and the beautiful greenery the Pacific NW has to offer, I’m in heaven.

FK: What part of being an artist is the most gratifying to you and what is hardest for you?
The most gratifying is sharing the love of glass. Either by seeing someone’s face light up when they find a piece that makes them so happy – or by teaching people how to create their own.

The hardest for me is the isolation of working in my private studio - I find myself missing the camaraderie of co-workers. By teaching at Pratt Fine Art Center and being involved in a community like EtsyRAIN, I’m finding ways to alleviate that without the isolation driving me back into biotech.



FK: What activities do you enjoy when you’re not being an artist?

I spend most of my time drinking coffee. (Just kidding!)

I love getting outside – walking, hiking and biking – especially in new places. One of my favorite things to do in a new city is explore by walking and figuring out their public transport. If I can get around without a car – that makes for the perfect adventure.

And I’ve rarely turned down seeing a movie in the theater. Even if it’s bad – I enjoy the big screen and popcorn.

FK: Sounds good to me! Marja, I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting and getting to know more about you. Now tell us what your giveaway is going to be for some lucky winner.

I am giving away a $20 gift card, which will be good towards any purchase online or in person at any show.



FK: That’s wonderful! Now let me tell everyone how they can win.

You will have several chances to be entered into the random drawing.  Each one must be entered as a separate comment.

First entry: Visit Marja's shop, come back here, and enter a comment about your favorite piece.

Second entry: Enter a comment if you signed up to follow Marja's Facebook page (or comment if you already follow).

Third entry: Enter a comment that you signed up as Marja's friend on Twitter.

Fourth entry: Enter a comment that you signed up to follow my blog (or comment that you already follow). (See column at right to sign up.)

Fifth entry: Enter a comment that you signed up as my fan on Facebook.

That's FIVE chances to enter for the random drawing!!!  I will use random number generator to pick a winner after 12 noon EDT on

THURSDAY, JULY 29.

Good luck!

111 comments:

  1. My fave piece in Marja's shop is the Modern Swirls earrings

    Atoxim at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Already a facebook fan of another bright idea


    Atoxim at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Already a follower of this blog

    Atoxim at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  4. I like
    Ruby Red - 2 in 1 Fused Glass Earrings


    sherrygo at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  5. blogged http://iluvcontest.blogspot.com/2010/07/win-20-gift-certifiate.html

    sherrygo at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  6. i'm torn between the silver moons and the orange crush set. beautiful stuff!

    nicole[dot]levins[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  7. and i'm following marja on twitter as well!

    nicole[dot]levins[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I like the Sundown bracelet!

    hrfarley at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  9. I like the Coral Reef - Sterling Silver Ring

    paige.schnee @ my.sf.coloradotech.edu

    ReplyDelete
  10. following your blog
    paige.schnee @ my.sf.coloradotech.edu

    ReplyDelete
  11. I like the Coastal Sky - Fused Glass and Silver Necklace
    jacobsonbeth at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  12. I like the Coral Reef - Sterling Silver Ring.

    squarekitties@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. i like the spring dreams jewelry set!
    roseanne1187(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  14. became a fan of Another Bright Idea on facebook
    roseanne1187(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  15. I adore Summer Love - Fused Glass and Silver Necklace.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Summer Sky Necklace, it looks like the ocean on a summer day!
    tracyschultz@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. I love this!


    Sky Blue Swirl - Fused Glass and Silver Necklace


    SheilaC

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love Midnight - 2 in 1 Fused Glass Earrings

    egle dot mane at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  19. hi, my faviest item there is http://www.etsy.com/listing/49517779/constellation-fused-glass-and-silver

    email me :)
    liz_crowny@yahoo.com
    pintaliztiirene.blogspot.com

    thankies for helding this giveaway

    ReplyDelete
  20. I already follow Marja's Facebook page name doki doki co :)

    email me :)
    liz_crowny@yahoo.com
    pintaliztiirene.blogspot.com

    thankies for helding this giveaway

    ReplyDelete
  21. hi,I would love to participate in this giveaway,I'm your follower through Google Friend Connect..

    email me :)
    liz_crowny@yahoo.com
    pintaliztiirene.blogspot.com

    thankies for helding this sweet giveaway

    ReplyDelete
  22. I am already your fan in FB name doki doki co :)

    email me :)
    liz_crowny@yahoo.com
    pintaliztiirene.blogspot.com

    thankies for helding this sweet giveaway

    ReplyDelete
  23. My favorite piece is the Rain Drops - Fused Glass Ear Thread Earrings.
    cheatingpiggies at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  24. the red jolly rancher fused glass jewelry is my favorite.

    boswife @ gmail . com

    ReplyDelete
  25. My fav is the summer sky pendant only w.o. the chain!

    penguinlover_23 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  26. My favourite items are the
    Summer Sky - Fused Glass Earring Posts

    erica(dot)terranova(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  27. Christina - xristya@rock.com - I love the Summer Love necklace!

    ReplyDelete
  28. ms(dot)verymarried(at)gmail(dot)com

    This is my favorite:

    http://www.etsy.com/listing/48203508/sundown-fused-glass-bangle

    ReplyDelete
  29. I love the Midnight - 2 in 1 Fused Glass Earrings.
    mframe00@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  30. I love the Coastal Sky earrings...the glass looks like Opals to me..love that!

    productsoftheday at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  31. I love the Coastal Sky earrings...the glass looks like Opals to me..love that!

    productsoftheday at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  32. I'm a fan of Glass Elements FAcebook page

    ReplyDelete
  33. I am a fan of your facebook page.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I love the Coastal Sky - Fused Glass and Silver Necklace.

    nbalogh522 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  35. I'm following Marja on Twitter @maybaby522.
    nbalogh522 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  36. I'm following your blog.
    nbalogh522 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  37. I love the Sky Blue Swirl - Fused Glass and Silver Necklace!! If I were to win, I'd get the Modern Swirls - Fused Glass Earring Posts.

    lauren.m.gibson AT gmail DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  38. I like the Coral Reef - Sterling Silver Ring

    couponboss at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  39. Beautiful jewelry! Love this... http://www.etsy.com/listing/52083563/sky-blue-swirl-fused-glass-and-silver

    mandm_2002 at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  40. Follow with GFC

    mandm_2002 at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  41. I like the Sky Blue Swirl - Fused Glass and Silver Necklace. Beautiful jewelry! =)

    ReplyDelete
  42. Fan of Marja on facebook

    facebook.com/krista.kimmel1

    ReplyDelete
  43. Following Marja on Twitter @KKimmel

    ReplyDelete
  44. I like Another Bright Idea on FB

    ReplyDelete
  45. Hi, hope it's OK to contact you here. We would love to include your blog on our giveaway search engine: Giveaway Scout (http://www.giveawayscout.com). Have a look and if interested, use our online form to add your blog (http://www.giveawayscout.com/addblog/ ). thanks, Josh

    ReplyDelete
  46. fave: night bloom earrings
    deannalw47 @ hotmail.com
    xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
  47. GFC blog
    deannalw47 @ hotmail.com
    xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
  48. BEAUTIFUL pieces! I love the Aqua Sunbursts and Rain Drops earrings. That color is just AWESOME!

    Wonderful interview too!

    ReplyDelete
  49. The Sundown Fused Glass Bangle is absolutely gorgeou!

    Devin
    dbwais[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  50. I follow Marja on twitter > @Ooooh_Shiny

    Devin
    dbwais[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  51. I follow your blog <3

    Devin
    dbwais[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  52. My favourite item is the Night Blooms - Fused Glass Necklace

    Kate1485 at hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  53. I'm a fan of Glass Elements on Facebook (Kate Ryan)

    Kate1485 at hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  54. I'm following Glass Elements on Twitter (@NTFancy)

    Kate1485 at hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  55. I'm following via Google (Jasmine1485)

    Kate1485 at hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  56. I'm a fan of Another Bright Idea on Facebook (Kate Ryan)

    Kate1485 at hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  57. I think the 3 of Hearts - Fused Glass Earrings, are cute! I really like the simplicity of it and the color choices!

    annaojordonez[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  58. I've like'd Marja's FB page. (Joanna O).

    annaojordonez[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  59. I'm following your blog via GFC.

    annaojordonez[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  60. I like'd your page on FB. (Joanna O)

    Thanks! (:

    annaojordonez[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  61. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  62. I love the Summer Love - Fused Glass and Silver Necklace and I am a fan of yours on FB and Twitter
    Thank you, Cynthia

    ReplyDelete
  63. I love the blue swirl necklace- I already own a few items and am always looking for more!

    ReplyDelete
  64. It's tough to pick just one since I love all of Marja's work - but my current favorite is the Pebble Beach set!

    http://www.etsy.com/listing/37735840/pebble-beach-fused-glass-jewelry-set

    ReplyDelete
  65. I am already a Glass Elements Facebook fan!!

    ReplyDelete
  66. I am now a Fan of Another Bright Idea (as Beth Reiman)

    ReplyDelete
  67. I like the Fiery Rouge - Fused Glass Earring Posts: http://www.etsy.com/listing/52368789/fiery-rouge-fused-glass-earring-posts

    annabell_lee_dk (at) yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  68. Signed up as Marja's friend on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sweepstakelover

    annabell_lee_dk (at) yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  69. miriam dot nussbaum at gmail
    if i won, i'd put the gc towards the Coral Reef - Sterling Silver Ring! it really jumped out as being not just beautiful but very 'me'!

    ReplyDelete
  70. miriam dot nussbaum at gmail
    now a follower

    ReplyDelete
  71. I love the Sky Blue Swirl - Fused Glass and Silver Necklace.

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  72. I follow Marja's Facebook page.[Aik Chien]

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  73. I signed up as Marja's friend on Twitter @aikchien

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  74. I'm a follower.

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  75. I signed up as your fan on Facebook. [Aik Chien]

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  76. My favorite is the lovely Coastal Sky Fused Glass & Silver Necklace.

    sabrita@juno.com

    ReplyDelete
  77. I liked Glass Elements on facebook.

    sabrita@juno.com

    ReplyDelete
  78. Follow you on GFC.

    sabrita@juno.com

    ReplyDelete
  79. This is my fave
    Summer Love - Fused Glass and Silver Necklace

    malmort01 at optonline net

    ReplyDelete
  80. on twitter
    malinda1971
    malmort01 at optonline net

    ReplyDelete
  81. Like you on FB
    malmort01 at optonline net

    ReplyDelete
  82. Follow your blog
    malmort01 at optonline net

    ReplyDelete
  83. Like them on FB
    malmort01 at optonline net

    ReplyDelete
  84. i like the red jolly rancher fused glass its so cool!

    ReplyDelete
  85. I love At the Beach - Fused Glass Sterling Silver Ring. thanks
    lubaska dot k at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  86. fan of Marja's page on FB (Ľubica Kotmániková)
    lubaska dot k at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  87. Marja's friend on Twitter (username Lubaska)
    lubaska dot k at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  88. Your fan on FB (Ľubica Kotmániková)
    lubaska dot k at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  89. Blog follower
    lubaska dot k at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  90. love the Diamond Drops - Fused Glass Earrings

    hockiemack at hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  91. blog follower

    hockiemack at hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  92. I am quite partial to the LadyBug - Fused Glass and Silver Necklace. Lovely work!

    ReplyDelete
  93. I 'like' Marja's Facebook Page!

    ReplyDelete
  94. I am a happy follower of Felicia's BLog!

    ReplyDelete
  95. I love to check in on Felicia's Facebook page as well by following!

    ReplyDelete
  96. I think my favorite is the Red Jolly Ranchers set. Simple but stunning.

    ReplyDelete
  97. I like the pebble beach fused glass jewelry set!
    jenny.maurer84 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  98. I like glass elements on facebook as Jenny Bolech
    jenny.maurer84 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  99. I follow marja on twitter as JennyBolech
    jenny.maurer84 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  100. I follow your blog on GFC as Jenny Bolech
    jenny.maurer84 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  101. I follow you on facebook as Jenny Bolech
    jenny.maurer84 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  102. I like the Lemon Jolly Rancher fused glass set.

    ReplyDelete
  103. I love the night blooms and diamond drop necklaces!

    ReplyDelete

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