‘I have to do this’: Clearwater artist hopes to uplift others with hot art trend

Artists use many materials to create masterpieces, but pieces created with various forms of glass are gaining popularity.  

Marlene Rose discovered her passion for glass art while at Tulane University in New Orleans.

"It just clicked with my personality and I said, ‘I have to do this,’" Rose explained. 

Rose says it was a struggle to start her new passion. It took her ten years to find a studio that would accommodate the technique. 

"Glass art is a way to express yourself with that particular material and right now, there are so many different ways to express yourself with glass," Rose shared. 

Rose says she usually spends about two weeks creating a mold before going into the studio. Then she places the mold in sand made up of semi-precious stone, so when she lifts it out, it creates a hole in the sand in the shape of the mold. Rose then fills the hole with 2,000-degree molten glass. 

"It sets up in about 15 minutes to roughly 900 degrees. At 900 degrees, it’s solid enough that it won’t drip or lose its shape and then we can pick it up with special gloves. Then we put it in a cooling oven and it will stay in there for roughly a week cooling from 900 back to room temperature very slowly."

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The glass would crack if it was left to cool in the air like metal.

"When you see us pouring it, it looks like molten lava pouring," Rose stated. "You need special glasses, so you don’t hurt your eyes. We wear protective gear. There are so many ways this can go wrong. A drip of sweat on the glass in the molten stage or as it’s cooling, your sleeve hitting it could absolutely destroy the piece."

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Rose says most of her art has been inspired by ancient cultures, but some of her works, like her butterfly pieces, are inspired by her daughters.

"I like bold simplicities. I like to break things down into strong, bold forms and shapes," Rose shared.

But her ultimate goal is to uplift.

"I think that it’s extremely important that, in your home, we feel uplifted and so this is my mission and goal," Rose said.