Displayed in a window, bringing colour to the world where there was none, hangs art made up of hundreds of little glass pieces.
Described as mosaic art with a spin of stained glass characteristics is what glass artist Tammy Lewis creates. Something she calls “painting with glass.”
Art and glass are something Tammy has always been interested in. She tried painting, as well as a few other things, but couldn’t get the vibrancy she was looking for. That is, until she tried glass.
“Glass is my passion, I've always loved it,” says Tammy. “It's just beautiful; it's warming and peaceful and creates happy light in your home.”
Combining her love for stained glass windows and the desire to create a very special birthday gift for her sister, Tammy tried glass art for the first time.
“It came out really nice, fantastic. Better than I'd ever anticipated, so I just kept going with it,” she says. “It's a great release. I found my niche. I have tried many different forms of art and expression of self; this is my thing for sure.”
As a stay at home parent, Tammy looks after two of her three children all day every day. Although right now she fits in her creating where she can, she says eventually it will become more full time.
“The reason I kind of pointed myself in the direction of making things is so I could stay home and raise my family. So that's number one on the priority list right now,” she says. “I'll say girls I need 20 minutes to work on this, and they'll say OK and go play. They know the reason I'm home and able to spend the day with them is because this is my job.”
Tammy says she thinks this is a great example for her kids, “Just to show that you can be a self sufficient person, or that you can create and share.”
“Being yourself and doing what makes you happy is an important lesson for them,” she says.
Tammy has been creating her glass art as more than just a hobby for three years now, and says “it's going is perfect.” She has received wonderful support from her family, people in the community and from other local artists.
“People find things now and bring them to me,” laughs Tammy. “People who are renovating their homes bring me their old windows. I've had people bring me things like broken vases, and I've included them in a piece so it's really cool.”
Because she uses such tiny pieces of glass, Tammy can often use recycled scrap glass rather than buying large sheets new. She says the “green” aspect of her work is something she is really happy with.
“A lot of this glass is reclaimed from what would end up in the landfill. I use recycled scrap glass when I can get it,” says Tammy. “So that's another aspect to it that I'm proud of, that I can be a little green while I am creating my art.”
Other than her release and ability to create, which she says is extremely important, Tammy says the friendships she makes and the feedback she gets from people are the best parts of what she does.
"I've had people contact me and send me pictures of where they've hung my work created friendships through that,” she says. “I did a huge order for Germany last summer, and she's emailed me so many times to tell me how it has brightened her life and her home to have them there, and how they have a special meaning to her.”
“Glass is my passion, I've always loved it. It's just beautiful; it's warming and peaceful and creates happy light in your home.” - Glass artist Tammy Lewis
“The thing I learned is when you create something, when you put it out there to share with people, it's a really unique bond that happens,” adds Tammy. “I've created very specific commission pieces for people, very personal pieces.”
As an artist, Tammy says there is nothing better than knowing someone gets your work. “Until you create something you don't realize how much you actually put of yourself into a piece of art.”
“I always bought handcrafted things that I thought people put themselves into, and I always loved them,” she says. “Being able to do that is just sort of full circle. I always appreciated that, and now I see the appreciation so it's really cool.”
Currently Tammy and her family are in the process of building and moving into a new house. Tammy will also be getting a studio for her work, which she says she is really excited about.
Although she has no particular goals in mind for the future, she says she could not be happier with the way things are going.
“It's happening without me really even trying, so I'm sure once I have the time to put a little effort into it it'll skyrocket,” she says. “The goal in life is to be happy, so I'm good.”
Contact Tammy at 682-3026, or view her work at www.glassartists.org/TammyLewis.