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Women In Glass

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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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