Meet Jaclyn Miller, #ArtGlassFinest Spotlight September 2022
Another month, another amazing artist sitting in the coveted #ArtGlassFinest spotlight! This month we had the absolute honor to interview the one and only Jaclyn Miller of @AssemblyGlassworks! If you have been on the #glassfam gram long enough you may have heard of her. She does incredible illustrative pop-art style stained glass that truly pushes the bounds of what tradition stained glass is! Without further ado, here is our interview with Jaclyn.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: who you are, where you are from, how you got into glass?
My name is Jaclyn Miller, and I’m a stained glass artist living and working in Arvada, CO. I’m originally from Florida, and it was there that I studied art and art history with a concentration in mixed media at a small university about an hour outside of Orlando. After graduating, I moved to Chicago and started getting involved in the zine and minicomix community there, self-publishing my own memoir comics, and helping to organize the Chicago Zine Fest.
After five years in the windy city, my next move was to Colorado with my then-partner, now-husband. I started digging deep into building a nonprofit career in volunteer management for a few years, but always made space for art making during that time, which included ceramics and illustration work.
In 2019 the burnout that’s unfortunately common in the nonprofit sector finally caught up with me, and I decided to leave my job and take some space to figure out what I should do next. One of the things I did for myself during that time off was take a 1.5 day beginner stained glass workshop in Denver, and I was instantly hooked. A couple of days later I purchased a modest secondhand studio setup, and I’ve been making stained glass everyday since. It wasn’t my intention to build a full-time studio practice or small creative business from this series of events, but I couldn’t be happier with the way the cards have fallen so far.
How long have you been working with glass in general?
My first time working with glass was in the summer of 2019. Because of my circumstances at the time, I was fortunate enough to dive into an accelerated self-learning practice right after the basics of the copper foil method were demystified for me in the workshop I took. I started posting my work online to share and connect with others in the fall of that same year, and things have snowballed for me and my business from there!
What is the focus of your work, any inspiration behind it?
My glass work primarily centers around themes of nostalgia and memory, with influences from pop art and culture. When I’m asked to share how I found my way to glasswork I think it’s important to touch on the other types of image making I’ve worked in because it has all converged in some way to inform the types of patterns and finished pieces I’m making presently. I’m really interested in achieving shapes and images in glass that change the perceptions my viewers might have about stained glass as an art form, and I’m always looking to inject a playfulness in my work through my subjects and color and texture choices.
How long have you used our products, and do you use them exclusively?
I can say with nearly complete confidence that I chose some lovely Oceanside Waterglass to use in the very first piece I ever made, so you’ve been with me since the very beginning (before I even knew it)! I don’t exclusively use Oceanside products, but they’re my favorite to score and break, and I am still a huge sucker for the refractions your Waterglass produces. I also absolutely love the Fusers Reserve line, and the amazing swirled glass I get to feature in my works, thanks to y’all.
Is there anything that makes our product stand out from the rest- a reason why you choose to use it? What do you look for in glass when you are sourcing it for your next project? (ie: color, texture, quality etc.)
The quality of Oceanside glass can’t be argued, and it’s definitely my favorite to cut by far! There are also some really unique physical and visual textures Oceanside is achieving that always draw me in and keep me coming back for more!
In general when I’m sourcing glass for a project, my primary concern is finding the colors I want to achieve the finished piece, and to put together some kind of cohesion among textures and opacities of each sheet I use in a design. Lately, for certain patterns, I’ve found myself selecting a stand-out piece of glass (like a swirling baroque beauty) and then building the color palette and finished look to highlight that piece. It’s a really fun challenge sometimes to work this way.
Are you are teaching a class? If so, what is it about; what will students learn? If not a class, are you launching anything?
I’m not teaching any classes currently, though I do have my eye on moving into beginner instruction in the coming years. Right now my main focus is a Halloween collection I plan to launch at the end of September or the beginning of October, which has been a ton of fun to begin piecing together.
Do you have any big projects in the works or coming up? Any works you are particularly proud of?
I’ve been setting aside time this year to get out of my usual approach to panel making, and to work on a series of experimental, moveable and layered triptych compositions that I’m really enjoying. Each piece is made up of three panels that are attached via hinges in an accordion layout so when the work is collapsed it produces one cohesive image, and when it is opened at different angles, it creates other images. I’ve been calling this series my “layer studies,” and they allow me to be looser with overall design, while also being very precise in their construction. These works are meant to invite touch and play, so I’ve also had to dive into the world of lead-free solder with them, which has been another way I’ve challenged myself this year.
Additionally, I’ll be participating in some of my first group shows out in LA in 2023 that I’m already prepping for, and I’m really excited about that!
Tell us one fun fact about you or your work.
I’ll often get asked what programs or fonts I use to create my cursive lettering patterns, but it’s just a stylized version of my own handwriting! I hope one day to strengthen my digital pattern-making skills because I’m positive it will save me a lot of time in the editing process, but for now I’m painfully analog and lay everything out first in blue pencil, then finalize the lines with a fine point sharpie.
It was so incredible getting to learn a little bit more about Jaclyn and the behind the scenes of her sensational IG account @assemblyglassworks. Can't wait to see what the future holds for you, friend!
Be sure to check her out on:
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