Finding purpose with glass design
By Jennifer Shea
Glass artist Kathryn (Kathy) Moores has a friendly, open personality and an infectious laugh. She doesn’t take herself too seriously but has a strong passion for her craft as a professional glass artist. She’s more than willing to share her knowledge, offering regular classes at her Glen Miller Road studio, Cracked Glass Design, which opened last November.
An aircraft engineer with the Canadian Armed Forces for 25 years before an MS diagnosis forced her medical release, Moores has used her glass artistry as a way to relax. “I can get lost in it. Even when I know it’s going to take another six hours (to complete a piece), part of me – right down in the centre of me – is mellow. I’m in a happy place.”
Upon her retirement, Moores created her own glassworks but also offered commission work – either new pieces or repairs – and taught lessons. She worked in the basement of her home, in about half the space of her current studio. She never advertised, but word of mouth kept her busy.
The early post-retirement years were challenging in terms of transition. “I was lost for a little while, even though I had my glass studio at home.” Moores felt she needed more structure and focus in her day, hence the idea of opening a studio separate from her home.
Moores has spent a good amount of time over the years learning about glass art techniques. She has taken courses from glass artists from around the world, often one-week-long intensive versions. Her interests have evolved from traditional stained-glass pieces to fused glass. “With fused glass, you cut your glass – the pieces you want for a specific design. There’s no soldering. The heat (from a kiln) brings it all together. Depending on the end effect that you want, it may go through the kiln 2, 3, 4 or 5 times.”
“I love stained glass. I love leaded glass. But my wheelhouse is really fused glass. I just find that there’s so many different things you can do with it. You can make functional. You can make fun. You can do sculpture in it.”
Moores offers classes in both fused and stained glass at her studio. She notes that the beginner’s course in fused glass is three hours long, and the artist will have a completed piece within days (after it’s run through the kiln). A stained-glass piece can take much longer to create.
Moores has always been an artist at heart. She has enjoyed sketching (in pen and charcoal), painting and is interested in sculpture. She was never encouraged to pursue art, but it has been a hobby throughout her life, with glass becoming her preferred medium.
“I do love working with glass. It’s not considered a solid, liquid or gas because it’s so malleable. It depends on what you’re doing with it. I love everything about it. I do believe, as artists, the more enthusiastic we are about our work, the more it draws people in.”