Meet Renee Metro
Hope everyone is keeping dry as March showers are upon us. As we enter the lucky month filled with leprechauns and three leaf clovers, we invite you to grab a green beer and read up on this month's #artglassfinest. This seasoned artist doesn’t play around as one can look at her bright and iconic work and already know whats up. She doesn’t need an introduction, but without further ado here is Renee from @fulcrumstainedglass.
1.Do you have a logo or image for your own branding, business or class? If not, is there a main image you want us to use for promoting you?
I use two logos, both of which I'll include. My main logo that I'd like you to use is a rainbow chakra mandala with my name around the outside edge and the other one is how I sign most of my pieces. It's a triangle with a horizontal line over it, representing a fulcrum. Here is the meaning and story behind my business name :)
noun: fulcrum; plural noun: fulcra; plural noun: fulcrums:
the point on which a lever rests or is supported and on which it pivots. When I was first learning how to do stained glass, I was scoring a sheet of glass and surprisingly it broke into a few pieces. This is because there was a tiny chip of glass left on the table, underneath the sheet I was cutting. This tiny glass chip had created a fulcrum, causing my glass sheet to break over it as pressure was applied while scoring. I had not swept the area clean before cutting. This became a running joke around the store and I got very used to hearing the word fulcrum. I still remembered that 20 years later and couldn't resist incorporating it into my own business name and logo. And it sounded cool too.
3.Tell us a little bit about yourself: who you are, where you are from, how you got into glass
I've always enjoyed creating, learning, building and tinkering even when I was extremely young. I started playing with paints and drawing when I was 2 years old. I was introduced to soldering electronics at the age of 4. I started sculpting c lay at the age of 10. I was always drawn to color and light so stained glass would be the natural choice for a builder/artist like myself, except I had no means to access it at the time.
When I was 15, my high school teacher was cleaning out the art closet and found a roll of copper foil. She didn't know what it was and neither did I but she asked me if I wanted it. I said, “Sure.” I went home and looked up info online about it. I found a website saying that copper foil was how you connect the pieces of stained glass together for soldering. Suddenly, a light bulb went off in my head. Since I already knew how to solder, I figured I just got the last piece of the puzzle and I FINALLY knew how to make stained glass. I ran out to the stained glass store that was seven minutes away from my house and bought my first sheet of stained glass. My parents had a simple glass cutter and I got to work. I had a few years to mess around with glass by myself before taking actual classes at another stained glass storefront. After a few years, I figured I had learned enough to experiment for a while so thats what I did. I had a good collection of tools and glass during this time and would create suncatchers and smaller panels for family members. After a few years of doing that, I wanted to further my skills. I went to the storefront where I had bought my very first piece of glass and befriended the owner and her friend. Her friend saw something in me and took me under her wing. She couldn't teach me fast enough. I loved it. Between glass identification, learning things about the actual business end of things and how to build anything out of glass with structural integrity, my brain couldn't soak it up fast enough. I ended up becoming an apprentice for the owner and a year or so later, it was time for her to follow her other dream and relocate. She wanted me to buy the store but I didn't know THAT much about business at the time to dive into something like that. By that time, I wanted to own my own stained glass storefront for a while, but I knew it just wasn't my time, yet. Despite this, I liquidated the store and gained access to more tools and glass than I knew what to do with. I continued to make glass for family members and run experiments of my own in the years following. Finally in 2018, Fulcrum Stained Glass was born and I created my own business. Since then, I've done things I've never thought possible and learned so much information I've never had access to before. It has been great looking back at where I was in relation to where I am. I've grown so much and I only have God to thank.
4. How long have you been working with glass in general?
I've been working with glass for 24 years!
5. What is the focus of your work, any inspiration behind ?
I love the colors and lighting effects of a stained glass window but whats brings me the most satisfaction is making something out of glass that can be more useful in an everyday setting, something you might not expect. I like to push the structural limits of of glass to create these pieces and I work with the highest quality materials and glass from all around the world.
As well as functional items, I also create glass panels and windows. I like to create original designs with a multitude of bright, eye-catching palettes to grab the attention of my audience. As a young girl this is where my love for stained glass began. Since then, I have been inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, long lines, and sometimes even the glass sheets themselves. Sometimes I will see a certain sheet and know I have to design a piece where the sheet is the focal point and can speak for itself. It's been a blast learning so much about glass, its behavior and temperament in the twenty-four years I've been working with it!
6. How long have you used our products, and do you use them exclusively?
I have been working with OGT/Spectrum since 1998. I love the consistency of the glass. If I need a specific color, I know I can get it from OGT!
7. 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.)
I love how “soft” and uniform the sheets are, which makes them so satisfying and easy to cut! My chakra logo piece is made almost exclusively with OGT. In 2018, I designed my first book jewelry box. Since creating the prototype, I ONLY use a specific sheet of OGT for the glass pages of my book because the surface is nice and smooth and they have the specific color that looks like actual weathered pages!
8. If you are teaching a class, what is it about? What will students learn? (If not a class, are you launching anything?)
I launched online classes in 2021 and they are in the format of one or two hour time slots. I teach anything from beginning stained glass to advanced 3D structures. If students need help getting through certain pieces, or just want a more in-depth look at a specific process, I'm here to help! In 2023 I'll be launching a weekly online class for those interested in learning how to make my book jewelry boxes.
Check out all her classes here: https://fulcrumstainedglass.com/collections/classes
PS: Renee just informed us that she is opening up a retail shop in Rhode Island! Stay tuned for updates from her on that!
9. Do you have any big projects in the works or coming up? Any works you are particularly proud of?
I am proud of a lot of different pieces but a few stand out in my mind. In April of 2019 I completed my magnum opus unofficially called “Rainbow Vortex.” This is a self portrait of how I transformed my life and how far I've come, especially in the last couple of years prior. This piece includes glass from every single glass manufacturer I had access to at the time. OGT,Spectrum, Wissmach, Fremont, Lamberts, Armstrong, Uroboros, Youghiogheny, St. Just, Bullseye, Wasser, and Kokomo. I had gone over it many times, replacing glass to create my vision of the perfect rainbow gradient. I kept revisiting this piece for about a year until it was finished. I had ended up transforming myself right alongside this self portrait and when it was complete, I felt I had completed a huge stage of my healing as well.
Another piece I'm proud of is my three-sided lamp made with OGT/Spectrum black opal with Youghiogheny. I broke the glass somewhat randomly and framed it afterward with the black. This is one of my favorite technical pieces. All of the decorative solder is only solder, no glass underneath, so it was extremely hard not to heat fracture the surrounding glass seeing as I had to heat up the solder slowly to make the lines. I ended up cracking two pieces but after replacing them, it was perfect! It only took two months!
Mandala book jewelry box – this is my latest book jewelry box I made with a working brass lock and key and a soft velvet interior. It's the first book box I made with a design on the cover as opposed to my usual one-piece cover. I usually do these boxes in only Van Gogh glass and always OGT for the pages. It turned out great!
Koi window panels – I designed this for a friend's front door. There were 8 panels in all. For these panels I used blue adventurine fusers reserve, OGT opal white, Wissmach, and Uroboros.
Aside from those past works, I have another future book jewelry box coming up that I cant wait to bring to life. It will have a functional brass latch and glass strap, with dichroic gems and lots of brasswork. This will be one of my most technical pieces to date and I am so excited to construct this!
10.Tell us one fun fact about you or your
One fun fact about me is that I entered my first art show at the age of 12. My Aunt signed up for me and I sold pumpkin pendants made out of Sculpey c lay. I sold a bunch of them but definitely under priced them at $3 a piece!
Thank you so much Renne for a little insight into your world :). Its always amazing to hear the passion behind artists such as yourself and its clear to see that your art translates that. Thank you for bring color into everyones lives!
As always, Stay Glassy ;)
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