The gallery at Fire Glass Studio is celebrating bright and bold colors of summer, featuring a wide variety of one-of-a-kind handcrafted light-filled glass sculptures, bowls and artifacts created by students and local artists.
“It’s exciting to see it all come together this summer, it is such a beautiful season,” says Fire Glass Studio artist and founder Michal Hasson. “The gallery, along with our work tables, makes the studio friendlier and warmer for visitors, students and artists. Here at the studio, I want to give more people a chance to appreciate the special charm of fused glass art, learn the process of how things are made, and, perhaps, take home a piece of summer.”
Hasson, 50, a former Israeli soldier and now artist/entrepreneur working in Canoga Park, recently opened Fire Glass Studio, a place where adults, children and families produce dazzlingly beautiful glass fusion art. “The painter Marc Chagall, one of my favorite artists, used stained glass art to express new beauty and his faith. I think glass art can be so life-affirming,” she says.
Her passion about the healing power of fused glass art is evident. Her eyes sparkle when telling a visitor how the technical skills learned and the inspiration experienced are invaluable to a child, a senior, or anyone who needs a sense of accomplishment.
“Once a month, I drive down to Silver Lake to teach elderly residents at the Garden Crest Rehabilitation Center, and there’s no doubt in my mind that making fused glass art brings connections and meaning to their lives,” she says.
With an M.B.A. from University of Judaism, Michal, also a wife and mother of three, has her own reasons for mastering an art form. She talks about the time a serious illness, only a few years ago, caused her to step away from a successful career in business.
“Someone suggested doing fused glass, which I never really heard about before,” she says. “I found, however, that the tactile, careful process of fusing multicolored glass pieces into something wonderful was so appealing to me. And, yes, inspiring, in ways I never imagined.”
Largely self-taught, Hasson quickly gained an expertise in using glassmaking techniques and tools. The glass fusing process is a delicate mix of old- and new school methods. The skills are traditional ones: using a fusing kiln, molding or flat-fusing glass items, and applying paint to glass with varying colors. But the design work can be cutting-edge, taking digital stencils or models to produce a unique-shaped bowl or jewelry piece.
“I love to keep things simple when instructing students,” she says. “Method and craft will come together eventually as long as one focuses on the idea or result you envision.”
Hasson has made a commitment to improve her community outreach this summer and beyond, pointing to the studio’s schedule of new classes for kids, youth, families, and adults. “When I first started the studio, mostly friends and families signed up,” she says. “Now, for example, I’m going out to public and private elementary and middle schools to offer fusion glassmaking classes for after-school enrichment programs. I’m also looking forward to doing more art therapy sessions at nursing homes and so much more. I even created a new Web site to gain more visibility for the studio.”
Hasson says that as soon as the warm summer sunlight streams into her studio and tones up all the brilliant blues, golds, and greens of the fused glass art pieces, “I instantly know I’m in the right place and doing what I’m supposed to be doing: making each day more beautiful. ”