Friday, October 28, 2016

Silvia Engel, Glass Jewelry & Mixed Media Artist, Tells Her Story

To many people, “tradition” is a word that means looking back to how things once were, but to me, as an artist and jewelry maker, tradition is what drives me forward. In my fused glass and jewelry artworks, as well as alcohol ink paintings and textured mixed media tiles, I incorporate my understanding of tradition through color and texture, while using innovative techniques to further explore what those traditions mean to me.

Art is what keeps me balanced and tuned, and everywhere I go and everything I do revolves around art, whether I’m enjoying a color pattern or texture or spending a day in my studio.

Sunflower - Alcohol Ink Painting

I come from a family of artists — musicians, painters, potters, and singers. It makes sense that art and the process of creative expression were always around me as a child.

My native Mexico is also one of the greatest influences for how I design, color, and texture my fused glass jewelry. The beaches and the sea, as well as the colors, sounds, people, and energy of my Mexican home, were always changing and never the same from one day to the next. This has influenced the way I create and handcraft my jewelry and my art, and I love creating one-of-a-kind works.

Although I create different lines of similar jewelry based on themes, no two of my pieces are the same, and this means that every owner of my jewelry is the owner of a piece made just for them. There’s no better feeling than that connection between the artist and a person.

Love Ashes Butterfly

When I came to the United States 26 years ago, I brought my culture with me, and about 15 years ago, I started translating that culture and tradition into glass jewelry. The process of fusing glass intrigued me so much, and from the fun to the sense of fulfillment, I just knew it was my calling.

Red Heart Love Ashes

I currently specialize in fused glass cremation jewelry (that’s glass jewelry and memorials that have the cremated ashes or hair of a loved one or a pet fused into the actual work of art). And it’s the most fulfilling, yet challenging, way that I can use my art to connect with other people. What inspires me most is the letters and thank-you notes I get from grieving families, who say that wearing my jewelry has helped them feel close to passed loved ones. My company, Love Ashes, gives me a deep passion for glass fusing as well as motivation to continue evolving and enjoying my artistic process every day.

Hanging Fish - fused glass

Today, I find myself continually inspired by random things. It could be a pretty color combination or the way the sky looks. Sometimes I’m inspired by a tile at a restaurant or a song on the radio. My studio is, by most people’s standards, probably a bit messy. But I know where everything is; it’s my sanctuary and where I find the most peace. I never sketch my work, instead, I take a more stream-of-consciousness approach to the design. Once I begin cutting the glass, the idea for the jewelry, its combination of colors, and its design come to my mind. Since I also dream of designs, I keep paper and pencil on my nightstand.

To the Moon and Back - alcohol ink painting and mixed media

Although every day brings new challenges, I couldn’t be happier. Creating art, making jewelry that helps other people, and growing in my artistic process and creative expression are all part of this wonderful way that I get to spend my days and make an impact on others. In the future, I want to continue finding new partnerships for my cremation jewelry. Recently, I developed a big interest in mixed media work that incorporates alcohol inks as well as fused glass and calligraphy, to create beautiful painted tiles. I hope to feature my mixed media works in more galleries, and one day I’d like to do a solo exhibit.

Love Is - alcohol ink painting and fused glass

This is Week 42 of 52 Artists in 52 Weeks. Thank you for reading and sharing Silvia’s story today. To connect with Silvia and see more of her work, please visit the following links:

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