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Artist Spotlight: David and 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

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.