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Artist Spotlight: Amy Peseller

4 lidded wood fired, stoneware pots in natural brown

From the Artist

detail of leaf imprinted pottery

I like to say, quite simply, I am a potter. I fell in love with clay in high school. I was lucky enough to have a decent school, which provided classes in many art forms. I attended The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, earning a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in Ceramics. After graduation, it was time to learn what it meant to make clay a career and a life, so I drowned myself in experiences. That’s what crafts are all about, right? Learning hands-on, I did internships and work exchange programs, one of which was, The Morean Arts Center for Clay (known back then as St. Pete Clay) in Florida. I spent months in North Carolina, helping artists wood firing their massive amazing kilns and assisting in their studios. I traveled to Japan, where I stayed in pottery towns with local artists, firing kilns and taking in the culture. I went to workshops, attended conventions, visited institutions, and met so many great people in the field. 

Originally, I am from Southern New Jersey. Being close to my family was important to me, so I always came back home. When I was a child, my elementary school took a couple of field trips to Wheaton Village (known then). As a visitor to Wheaton, you can enter the studios to watch and interact with the artists creating their work. It was there, at Wheaton as a child, that I saw a man named Terry Plasket, throwing a pot on the potter’s wheel for the very first time. I turned to my mother and said, “that’s what I want to do when I grow up.” At the time, she chuckled at me. (Children say the darndest things.)

Jar with Convex Lid in Jade Green
Jar with Convex Lid in Jade Green

Today, I work for that man here at the Wheaton Arts pottery studio and have been for ten years now. I am a paid employee for the studio as the shop technician/manager and Terry Plasket’s resident assistant. I do the daily wheel demonstrations to the visiting public, help run the shop, and create my own line of work, which I sell full time as my own business. I initiated an adult wheel throwing class at Wheaton called “Evenings with Amy.” I also teach every other weekend. I honestly have it all. This fully-functioning studio provides me with a wood-burning kiln, large gas-fired kilns, all kinds of equipment and tools. In this space, I can be my most creative self with any needed materials for glazing and the opportunity to mine the local clay and create my own unique clay body from scratch. I sell my work in Wheaton’s shops and galleries and their Craft Shows throughout the year. Wheaton also provides me with a place to live on campus as a resident artist. Do I work hard for all these benefits? You bet I do, above and beyond, blood, sweat and tears, and every inch of my time. When you love something, that’s what you do. You give it your all. I have learned and grown so much in my life here, not just within myself but as an artist. I have my mentor Terry Plasket to thank for that.

dryed and fresh plants on a table
Amy' has gathered her palette of leaf stems
showing hands holding a roller that is pressing a leaf into wet clay
Rolling to create a leaf impression
artist refines the details on the piece with a leaf pressed into it
Refining the details of the leaf print
Potter, Amy Peseller shapes the edge of her pottery on a wheel.
Shaping the clay piece on the potter's wheel
artist Reveals the impression in the bisque-fired clay
Revealing the design with iron oxide
potter Applying-Iron-Oxide into the plant impression
Pieces ready for the glazing process

I make a full living as an artist in my own small business named Amy’s Pottery. Over the years, I have developed a strong local following, giving me many repeating fans, who probably have too many of my mugs in their cabinets at this point. Other than custom-made orders, I have four reliable Craft Shows a year I sell my work in (on and off Wheaton campus), a couple of small retail shops I sell in, and I try to do a gallery show at least every couple of years. I am no longer a starving artist trying to find her way. I am there. 2019 was my very best year in sales of my work. When Coronavirus happened, my career took a mighty hit but, I am slowly climbing back out from those tough times, like many of my fellow artist companions—getting back to burning and turning and going home with clay on my pants again.

The body of work I am most known for are leaf-printed pieces. It is a process that adds many steps to the already long staircase of the pottery process, but I absolutely love it. Each piece is made with real leaves that I collect and roll directly into the clay when it is still quite moist. The leaves burn away in the kiln, leaving the print or fossil in the clay. Those prints then get stained and colored. There are other potters out there doing the leaf printing technique, but what makes what I do unique is in the composition of the leaf images. I lay out a painter’s palette of different leaves and create each piece individually and intuitively. 

I derive an incredible amount of passion for what I do, not just in making the work but also in firing the pieces. Firing kilns is a world all its own that encompasses many techniques and really turns up the heat within me (pun intended). I have always loved high-temperature gas firing because of the depth and life it gives to the colors of my glazes. The extreme temperatures also ensure durability and functionality, which is very important to me. I also have developed a strong love for wood firing. Using wood to fuel the kiln forces you to stay connected and in tune with your work. It is not the same as turning on a burner and walking away, as wonderfully convenient as that is. The kiln truly comes alive. I love the simplicity of glazing my pieces for a wood firing. I often do not apply any coloring to the surface and rely purely on the wood and fire itself, licking and combusting alongside my pots, leaving earth tones and splattering ash from the wood burnt down. I hope my future continues to grow in the art of firing kilns.

Wood-fired Tall Mug Approximately 6″ tall, 3.5″ cylinder diameter.
Group of 4 Wood-Fired Vessel

I strive for many things when creating my work, but two things that are the most important to me are beauty and function when I break it down. I want my pots to look aesthetically pleasing, in color and form, and function excellently, and fit into your daily life. I believe my pieces seem beautiful in a quiet and straightforward kind of way. They are earthy in color, with greens and browns, and have soft line qualities. My pots often remind people of natural things they enjoy or loved ones that bring them happiness. I want my work to join your family at the table for the Thanksgiving feast or help you start your day with a warm cup of coffee in your favorite mug, which seems to have a handle fit just for you. There is so much beauty in the form: the balance of a pitcher spout to its handle, and how it pours. The matching curves of a sugar and creamer set that make them so perfect together. It’s the little things that bring us the most joy, especially for this simple potter.

Artist Spotlight: Terry Plasket


From the Artist

Terry Plasket throwing clay on the Potter's wheel surrounded by fresh clayThis year will mark 42 years of my tenure in the pottery at WheatonArts. Though I was introduced to salt glazing in college, it was here at WheatonArts that I have developed a line of work that has primarily been centered around the salt glaze process. For those who don’t know what salt glazing is, I can describe the process. Instead of applying the glaze to the pottery and fusing it on in the kiln, salt glazing finishes are created by the firing process. When it is dry in an electric kiln to 1800 degrees in an electric kiln, I first fire the ware, which hardens the clay, but it remains porous, much like a terra cotta flower pot. In this stage, I usually put a liner glaze on the insides of my pots. Though the outsides could remain untreated, I usually hand-paint designs on them using powdered metals such as iron, cobalt, and titanium mixed with water which then soaks into porous clay. The pots are then loaded into our gas-fired salt kiln and heated a second time to 2350 degrees F, at which time we throw ordinary rock salt into the bottom of the kiln. At this temperature, the salt immediately vaporizes. Some of the sodium from the salt will react with the silica in the clay forming a textured transparent glaze over the entire surface of the pots. Salting the kiln takes about two hours, and then the kiln is shut down and allowed to cool naturally for two days.

In addition to the salt kiln, we have a gas fire reduction kiln where we apply glazes before the second firing and again heat to 2350 degrees F to vitrify the clay and melt the glazes to the surface of the clay. Twice a year, we try to fire our two-chambered Noborigama wood-fired kiln. This is one of my favorite ways to fire my pots but also the most laborious. The amount of prep work cutting and splitting all the wood and scheduling everyone to do their shift is a lot of work, but knowing this is a process that potters have done for thousands of years and one that I am carrying on is immensely rewarding.

Terry Plasket decorating bisque ware pots

Much of my work is done using a stoneware clay mined in Western PA. For about the last year, I have migrated to using two other clays. My new body of work is formed using porcelain clay from California, which I first fire and then apply a thin layer of flashing slip, a thin layer of Kaolin, a clay mineral, and some feldspar to the outside of the pot. The Kaolin I use is from a stash of bags I got from Frank Wheaton’s pottery factory in Millville after it closed in the ’80s. After the flashing slip is applied, I fire the pots again to 1800 degrees F. to bond the slip to the porcelain. I then apply adhesive stencils to the pots that I create and cover the entire pot with liquid wax. After the wax dries, I remove the image and then apply a black underglaze over the pieces. Where the sticker was, the stain will soak in, and where then wax is the water-based colorant will bead up. I could remove all these stain beads, but I choose to leave them as they form a mottled background for the design, which I like. The pots are then fired in the salt kiln, which coats them with a transparent glaze, and whereas the porcelain would typically be white, the flashing slip forms various shades of brown and orange, creating a unique piece of pottery. Sometimes the pots may come out with a little dryer finish than I like, and I will then refire them a fourth time in my gas kiln, bringing out a glossier finish on the pots.

Ruga clay stages of the process to a mugThe second clay I have been using a lot of is a local clay from the site of Northeast Precast company bordering on Route 55 in Vineland, NJ. The owners, the Ruga family permitted me to mine clay on the site, and they graciously delivered like 20 tons of it behind our studio by the kilns. Potters refer to clay being mined locally like this as ‘Wild’ clay. We have to do some processing to the clay, which is labor-intensive but again, the rewarding aspect of using it outweighs the effort. I have found it to work best in our gas-fired glaze kiln and even more so in our woodfire kiln. Using local clay and firing it with local wood is such a primal process that creates a unique WheatonArts kind of ware. Though we have been experimenting with the clay and refining it for about two years, I feel like we still have a lot to learn about this clay body and its possibilities. It is an absolute joy to throw this clay on the potter’s wheel.

[See the video as 
Terry Plasket discusses the process of prospecting, processing, and firing local wild “Ruga” clay.]

Lidded crock decorated with leavesby Terry Plasket
dogwood lidded bowl by Terry Plasket
6 mugs Animal series by Terry Plasket
Double pig lidded vessel
Rabbit series vessels by Terry Plasket
Double Rabbit bowl;
Stoneware bowls by Terry Plasket
Cylinadr mug with a cow
Lidded Jars

Terry Plasket, Artist Bio

Terry Plasket decorating bisque ware potsI attended Jacksonville University in Florida for six years and then Glassboro State College (Rowan University) for two years before becoming a member of the WheatonArts community in 1979. I have been a potter here for almost 42 years and have helped craft a dynamic first class pottery studio with three major kilns that serve my associates and numerous interns. Our studio is open to the public, so visitors can not only watch us work at our craft but have a personal interaction asking us any questions they may have. I produce a line of personal work firing in either a salt glaze kiln, a gas-fire, reduction glaze kiln, or in our two-chamber Noborigama style wood-fired kiln. All the ware I create is fired to over 2350 degrees F. and functional, food-safe, dishwasher safe, microwave safe, and oven-proof.

Visit our studio to connect in person or email me at tplasket@wheatonarts.org.


Artist Spotlight: Janis Miltenberger

Detail of piece by Janis Miltenberger, berries stems and leaves

Artist Bio

Janis Miltenberger is most recognized for her use of glass as an evocative medium. Her life-sized work quietly, personally, addresses her audience face to face. By using familiar objects, such as a cage or chair, to frame her concepts, she draws the viewer into a world of intricately wrought brambles filled with ideas and imagery.

It has been four decades since Miltenberger first studied clay in college. Then was introduced to glass blowing by becoming an apprentice to Richard Marquis at nineteen. Discovering lampworking at Pilchuck was the missing puzzle piece. this technique married her narrative style within a sculptural form.

Miltenberger’s glass work is included in many private collections. She both teaches and exhibits work internationally.

Excited about new possibilities, she recently has embarked on new work. Recently, developing an idea for a memory installation, utilizing metal, cast, and lampworked glass with interactive lighting.

Janis currently resides in Washington State.

Artist Statement

The heart of my work is narrative, the story, my vehicle. I am curious, how history and our vast subconscious of visual vocabulary inform our interpretation of the world.

What stories do I tell, and what does my audience see? My interest in stories, fables, and parables is apparent in my work. I appreciate the quest, the subtle roles, and the meaning within the story. There is also a transformative nature to storytelling, we take a word or image and infuse it with meaning, giving each element context. While my subject matter might be representational, the elements are meant as concepts, concepts that I seek to distill and form into allegorical objects.

Work Descriptions

At the heart of my work is a narrative. “Charmed” is playing with luck and metaphor. Phrases like “a bird in the hand …” have always intrigued me. In this piece, I have the juxtaposition of what is known, the captured or tamed bird, with what is wished for, the golden hand (“may everything I touch turn to gold,” Which didn’t work out so well), and the charm bracelet. Then, of course, the unknown. The hand itself is sprouting, growing, so almost anything could be possible.

My birds nest candle holder suggests intimacy. The two birds are making a home for future possibilities. All under the golden glow of candlelight. It is a wish for connection and purpose.

The rose goblet, like much of my functional ware, is the embellishment of the familiar. I really enjoy making work that gets handled and used. I personally derive so much pleasure from an object that I resonate with and can use to provide me both sustenance and pleasure.

Video Interview

Noele Alampi, The Gallery of Fine Craft manager, and Janis recorded a video of a conversation they had recently. Enjoy this insightful talk. We hope you are inspired.

Women In Glass


In celebration of Women’s History Month, we would like to take the time to recognize some of the female glass artists we represent in The Gallery of Fine Craft. The gallery is fortunate to have a longstanding connection with each in one form or another. 

These artists continue to push the boundaries of technique, creativity, and imagery. Explore their narratives and themes with us.

Megumi Esaki, born in Japan currently resides in France

An independent artist living in Nagoya, Japan, Megumi Esaki is a graduate of Aichi University’s Department of Arts and Crafts. Among her laurels, Megumi has been the recipient of a scholarship to the Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle, WA, and was the top awardee at the Toyota Art Exhibition. She was awarded the Creative Glass Center of America Fellowship in 2001. Her current work in cast glass and water — with its focus on refinement of technique, form, and function — is reminiscent of ritual containers used in Japanese gardens.

Artist Statement

I apply organic shapes to create my imagery. I pile on many layers, building the form to create each structure. I like to reference the composition of plants as I see a rhythm in them that follows mathematical rules. I enjoy its rhythm and resonance. When I see things that I am attracted to I see their shadows. And when looking into water or a mirror I prefer to see its reflection and the reflected images. I enjoy creating those reflected images, that subtle existence.

Shop WheatonArts – The Gallery of Fine Craft for Megumi’s work

Ayako Ikeda, born in Japan currently resides in the US

Ayako Ikeda was born in Kumamoto, Japan. She received her BA and MA degrees in living design and architecture from The University of Shiga Prefecture in Japan. Ayako’s glass art studies began in 2001 at the Toyama City Institute of Glass Art, the first public institution in Japan specializing in glass art. After completing her studies in 2003, she traveled extensively and worked with many glass artists from all over the world. Her work is shown internationally in Japan and the United States. It has been in several group exhibitions, including the Enomoto Gallery at Osaka and Milestone Gallery at Toyama.

In her personal work, Ikeda blows vases that are gracefully simple and traditional in shape; however, she moves beyond the typical in her exacting technical process. She layers colors over one another, almost mimicking the layering of lacquer which is later carved, but using greater contrast in color. When the blown glass has been annealed, Ikeda uses a Dremel grinding tool to carve linear images through the layers of color. A swelling, teardrop-shaped vase from the “KIKU” series is a deep peony pink on the outside. The flowers’ simple outlines cut through the translucent pink and an opaque white layer into a dark base color. The whole transparent rosy exterior is made pinker by the underlying white.

Shop WheatonArts – The Gallery of Fine Craft for Ayako’s work

Chicaco Ogawa, born and currently resides in Japan

Chicaco Ogawa was born and grew up in Aichi, Japan. After graduating from the Aichi University of Education in 1998, she worked at a production studio, and now she works at Toyama City Institute of Glass Art as a teaching assistant. She is interested in human expression and drawing lines. From an everyday affair, she finds something.

In 2010, Chica was awarded a fellowship with the Creative Glass Center of America at WheatonArts. After completing her fellowship, Chica remained as part of our production team as an assistant in the WheatonArts Glass Studio. After a few years at Wheaton, she moved back to Japan, where she currently resides.

Shop WheatonArts – The Gallery of Fine Craft for Chica’s work

Kari Russell-Pool, currently resides in Ohio.

Artist Statement

FLAMEWORKER, MOTHER, WIFE – I communicate using objects as metaphors. I am interested in the stories objects tell and how we elevate them into heirlooms, from quilts and teapots to sailors’ valentines and cages. My work tells many stories, filled with unique personal content and commentary about society, the hard work of relationships, and my experience as a mom. The result is autobiographical, and although objects are my vehicle, I think of them as self-portraits as each series reflects the timely concerns of my life.

Primarily a flame worker, I approach my work in a painterly fashion. Pulling my own cane and coloring it with glass powders allows for crossover between the hot shop and the torch and the occasional collaboration with my husband, Marc Petrovic. Together we share a studio in Cleveland, Ohio.

I have taught numerous workshops and classes both in the United States and abroad. My work can be seen in many private and public collections. Museums displaying my work include the Charlotte Mint Museum of Craft and Design, the Chrysler Museum of Art, the Cincinnati Museum of Art, the Corning Museum of Glass, the Racine Art Museum, the Seattle Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, and the Tacoma Museum of Glass.

Shop WheatonArts – The Gallery of Fine Craft for Kari’s work

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Artist Spotlight: Eric Goldschmidt

Artist Introduction by Noele Alampi

Manager, The Gallery of Fine Craft

When I first met Eric Goldschmidt in 2017, he was a Featured Presenter at the International Flameworking Conference at Salem County College. I was struck by his “Cage Cup” Series. These goblets and vessels feature fragmented face imagery surrounded by twisted vine-like “cages.” These cages create a more in-depth narrative beyond their traditional silhouettes. Eric has stated that this series is a “metaphor for the cages that we become entrapped in within our lives.” They draw the viewer in to find the deeper narrative.

Eric’s other line of work includes a series of elegant lidded goblets. Each has a removable lid accented with a delicate finial. The color palettes range in color from green to blue to purple. The set we are showcasing in The Gallery is a rich smoke gray color. They are truly stunning in the natural light of our bay window. 

I always look forward to seeing what fantastic and inventive new work Eric will create next.

Eric-Goldschmidt-Headshot About Eric Goldschmidt

Since 1996, Eric Goldschmidt has devoted himself to practicing and developing hot glass techniques with a focus on flameworking while studying and assisting with many of the world’s most talented glass artists. Although he has been working with glass since 1996, Goldschmidt started working with molten materials in 1993 as a candlemaker. However, after witnessing flameworking, he became intrigued by the process, which led him to take classes from master flameworkers at The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass. He was soon hooked and began working at The Studio in the Make Your Own Glass Workshop and as the resident flameworker. Now, as the properties of glass programs supervisor at the Museum, he gives live demonstrations in flameworking, glass breaking, and optical fiber, in addition to teaching, lecturing, and exhibiting his work around the world.

Shop WheatonArts The Gallery of Fine Craft for Eric Goldschmidt’s work

Artist Spotlight: Marc Petrovic

“Petite Avian Pair” by Marc Petrovic. Assembled and fused glass murrini in an abstract patterned tablet accented with a bird using Marc's “hot-origami” process.

Artist Introduction by Noele Alampi

Manager, The Gallery of Fine Craft


The work of glass artist Marc Petrovic is genuinely innovative and thought-provoking. Since 2014 I have had the pleasure of showing Marc’s work in the Gallery. Among his many series, there are two that intrigue me the most. 

“Petite Avian Pair” by Marc Petrovic. Assembled and fused glass murrini in an abstract patterned tablet accented with a bird using Marc's “hot-origami” process.

In the Avian Series, Marc pulls from his two-decade inspiration of bird imagery. Marc uses birds as a metaphor for his “rumination on relationships, parenting, home, shelter, and geographical identification.” Not only is the imagery fascinating, but the technique is as wellMarc assembles and fuses his own murrini into abstract patterned tablets. He sees these tablets as “fully realized deconstructed birds.” The birds then come to life through a process Mark calls hot origami. Their life-like faces and thoughtful eyes suggest an aware spirit that beckons the viewer closer.

Bottles are the focus of the Distilled Life Series. Marc uses bottles to “encapsulate, preserve and protect the ideas contained within.” He shares that “within the confines of these bottles, my ideas can be distilled and developed.” Even though the bottles’ themes and subjects may vary, their heart remains steadfast: security, home, relationships, and identity. We can all relate to these themes now more than ever.

Marc Petrovic Artist Statement

Marc Petrovic, HeadshotWe are all navigators—travelers on our journey between waypoints. While it is important for us to live for the journey, I am aware that we mark our lives in moments, experiences, and events. As we travel, we gather what we need, or believe we need, along the way. We collect and accumulate what is important to us, and we decide what is of value and what to believe in. Each traveler is unique. While we all float in the same ocean, we live in our own little worlds. Our geography is encompassing and universal, but at the same time, individual.

As an artist, I return again and again to the same themes. I find, as the Greek philosopher Heraclitus suggested, “You cannot reenter the same river twice, for the river is always changing.” I relish this constant yet infinitely varying source of inspiration. The themes of identity, geography, life cycles, and self-reflection—essentially, the human condition. The sense of identity formed through the journey of life is at the core of my work.

Glass is magical- but not magic. Until it is infused with an idea, a source, or an expression, my job as an artist is not complete.

Artist Bio 

Marc is a full-time artist who shares a studio in Cleveland, OH, with his wife and fellow glass artist, Kari Russell-Pool. His work can be seen in numerous private and public collections, including the Museum of Art and Design in NY, the Corning Museum of Glass, and the Tacoma Glass Museum in WA. Marc was a 2017 recipient of an Ohio Art Council Individual Excellence Award. Marc holds a BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art- 1991.

“Hotseat” by Marc Petrovic.
Measures 11.75″ H x 5.5″ W

Distilled Life Series by Mark Petrovic

“Tinderbox” by Marc Petrovic.
Measures 14.5″ H x 5.5″ W

Distilled Life Series by Mark Petrovic.

"Tinderbox" by-Marc-Petrovic

“Petite Avian Pair” by Marc Petrovic. Assembled and fused glass murrini in an abstract patterned tablet accented with a bird using Marc’s “hot-origami” process. Signed and dated 2014.
Measures 6.5″ L x 5.5″ W

About The Gallery of Fine Craft

Glass works by Jason Howard in The Gallery of Fine Craft with a back drop of a variety of works the background.
Glass works by Jason Howard in The Gallery of Fine Craft with a back drop of a variety of works the background.

In 2020, WheatonArts celebrated its 50th anniversary as one of the most unusual and creative landmarks in the Northeast! Meanwhile, The Gallery of Fine Craft at WheatonArts enjoys boasting over 25 years as an integral part of this vital arts institution. We hope both the collectors and the artists we represent will celebrate this significant milestone.

The Creative Glass Fellowship brings both national and international artists to WheatonArts yearly. The visiting artists create, experiment, and their art evolves within our glass studio facility and in their private studio space. We have the unique opportunity to connect with them during their time on campus. Furthermore, we represent their works past their Wheaton experience and as they continue to recreate processes and explore subject matters.

Through the gallery’s extensive connections, additional established and emerging artists also seek to show their works here in the over 1,000 square foot exhibit space. Past solo exhibitors include internationally acclaimed glass artist Paul Stankard and fine artist Glenn Rudderow. Artists spotlighted in Fellowship Alumni shows include Amy Lemaire, David Leppla, Kait Rhoads, and Matthew Szosz. The three-time guest curator has been a sculptor, Michelle Post.

Contemporary studio craft artists who display at WheatonArts work in various styles and innovative techniques. You will always find many one-of-a-kind artworks for collectors and items for gift-giving, all handmade. As the gallery manager, Noele Alampi focuses on bringing together fine art, craft, and excellent design of mainly North American artists. She presents both functional and non-functional works making them available to Wheaton’s audience and the Museum of American Glass.

Noele will spotlight artists whose exceptional work is sought by collectors and enthusiasts alike in the upcoming blogs. She will highlight a variety of pieces that can be seen in person. Furthermore, she’ll make them available online.

Be sure to follow the blog posts to make fascinating discoveries, hear the artist’s stories, and peek behind the scenes!

Connect with us here.

Paul Stankard Gallery Reception and book-signing

Artist Spotlight: David and Melanie Leppla

Yangtze-Stone, Grouping-of-3--by-Melanie-Leppla

Artist Introduction by Noele Alampi

Manager, The Gallery of Fine Craft at WheatonArts

For almost 25 years, I have had the honor of representing the works of both David Leppla and Melanie Guernsey Leppla. Each has participated in numerous Creative Glass Fellowship Alumni exhibitions and event weekends. In fact, you may have seen them in person at our Annual Studio Sale. David and Melanie’s individual work has evolved over the years and reflects a natural and organic theme.

Melanie’s glass Kyoto Lanterns emanate a warm, inviting glow that entices the viewer to move in closer to see the fine detail of lush berries, fruit, and leaves. Melanie captures the soft smoothness of ancient worn rock with her Cairn Series, making one question if they are actually made of blown glass. Her choice of rich colors and satin finish invokes a calming, almost meditative feeling.

David has created a variety of Series over the years, including Safari, Seascape, Floral Urn. Still, his newest Seed Pod series reflects his skilled use of technique and keenness for capturing a moment in nature. The pods are ripe and ready to burst from their leaves.

Knowing David and Melanie for all these years, I continue to be excited about their next new designs.

David and Melanie met at WheatonArts during their 1986 Creative Glass Center fellowships. Melanie came from RIT, where she had just finished her BA, and David from Kent State, where he just completed his MFA degree.

They have been sharing a studio since their fellowships and were married in1991. They have worked together and collaborated on a few series over the years but primarily work separately with an assistant on each of their own designs. They have found that they are more productive in realizing their own unique visions when they work separately.

Additionally, by alternating blowing days, as they do, they can keep their assistant busy and create time for each other to finish their glass and perform other essential tasks. As a couple, sharing glass as their medium of personal expression, they cannot help but be influenced and inspired by each other’s work. Their shared intrigue with nature is reflected in the continual exploration of forms, colors, and textures in both their work.

More important than sharing ideas, technical information, and labor, they share a deep understanding of the pleasures and pains of working with glass in particular and are able to carry each other through the inevitable highs and lows of their careers. They are always working to improve their current designs and always have another idea on the back burner. Their work is a continuum. One design influences the next, although drastic change can be seen from the beginning of their careers to their current state. David and Melanie look forward to seeing what develops next.

You can visit their gallery, Mad River Glass Gallery, in Waitsfield, Vermont.

Shop WheatonArts for David Leppla’s work

Shop WheatonArts for Melanie Guernsey Leppla’s work


Artist Spotlight: Eunsuh Choi

Conscious Tower VI by Eunsuh Choi. Flameworked, clear Borosilicate Glass Sculpture. Measures Approximately 11″ w x 14″ h x 4″ d

Artist Introduction by Noele Alampi

Manager, The Gallery of Fine Craft at WheatonArts

Eunsuh Choi was the featured artist at the Annual International Flameworking Conference at Salem Community College when I first met her in 2013. The Gallery had the opportunity to represent her work, and I was genuinely amazed by her sculptures. The dichotomy of the work’s airy weightlessness compared to the rigidity of the borosilicate glass medium truly pulls in the viewer. Her motifs of ladders, clouds, and houses suggest a dreamlike state, and her technical prowess helps deliver a powerful message.

Choi’s work is currently placed in a bay window allowing the natural light to shine through and highlight the glistening clear glass. The pieces catch the eye of many visitors drawn in by their ethereal beauty and elevate them beyond where they stand.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Eunsuh Choi

Eunsuh Choi poses with her face framed by one of her scultpures

Eunsuh Choi

South Korean born glass artist, residing in Rochester, NY

From the Artist

“My work specifically focuses on communicating the graceful flow of our emotional tendencies through the plastic medium of flameworked glass. I like to work sculpturally, utilizing form and its surrounding atmosphere to portray narratives based on the human encounter with success and failure in the pursuit of personal ambition.

I’m interested in portraying human aspiration with organic forms from the new perspective I had about myself within a foreign country. Originally from South Korea, I relocated to the United States. My Korean heritage tends to make me question myself in terms of my direction as an artist and an individual especially here in the USA. To address my interest in human aspiration, I like to integrate my personal philosophy and experience incorporating my Korean heritage into the work in an effort to merge my eastern background and my western experiences, similar to how we, as humankind, are unified through the sensation of personal ambition.

The structures that I create within recent work resemble objects that the viewer is familiar with in daily living. Ladders, trees, clouds, boxes, houses, and even hybrids of the five appear as reoccurring formal motifs.”

– Eunsuh Choi

Visit Eunsuh Choi’s Website

Shop WheatonArts The Gallery of Fine Craft for Eunsuh Choi’s work

Engage with our virtual series, Wheaton Conversations,  highlighting select artists with ties to WheatonArts!

Join us as we converse with inspirational artists who will discuss their art and creative process while providing an engaging platform for audience interaction. This series takes place on select Thursday nights at 6 p.m. EST. See the upcoming schedule here.