Nancy Gong, Glass artist
Nancy Gong

I am mainly a commission artist. What’s a commission artist doing making bow ties you ask? From start to finish, commissioned art can take a long time before I can see completed artwork, so, I try to find time to design independent works of art, art that is not commissioned. During these times, I flesh out ideas that have been developing in my mind and push myself to do things a little differently, test and experiment.

To me, people who wear bow ties are memorable too. They convey confidence and that they have a fun side to them. So, I am adding to that fun with glass bow ties that are each unique and are totally fun to make when I can catch a little time here and there.

Glass Bowties by Nancy Gong

With the bow ties, I create experiential art raising peoples’ spirit with a bit of joy and a smile through the fun of wearable art. I use multiple handmade processes including smashed kiln-formed glass, layering glass and sliding glass for color variation and movement to transform the glass into unique art.

Setting the stage for my life as an artist was the impressionable years spent in a suburban home environment filled with traditional Chinese embroidered and glass wall hangings, wood carvings, glass bead curtains and other delicate artwork. The backdrop was of a white walled living room with bold turquoise wall to wall carpet and gold upholstered furniture. I think it is fair to say that environment is what formed my subliminal perception of color. Combine that with parents who had a zealous work ethic and enjoyed making things by hand to make for the inspiration to become an artist.

Time spent at SUNY’s Empire State College, RIT and the Allofus Art Workshop—an off-campus education satellite of the Memorial Art Gallery—led me attend national and international glass conferences. It was there that I made connections to attend intensive workshops with numerous masters in stained glass and other glass marking and making processes. To this day, I continue to grow my art through intensive workshops and conferences world-wide.

Moving from traditional and vernacular stained glass, I discovered early that I wanted to be an artist of my time focusing on commissions designing and making contemporary architectural art glass for specific people and places. I love the commission process. I enjoy learning about my clients and their various interests, the research that goes into the design. That makes the connection between the handmade object, the artist and the people who will be living with the artwork. That exchange of emotion is fuel for the soul. It contributes to the human experience for everyone. It is the art that humanizes the built environment.

The design and fabrication of architectural art glass commissions can take months or years, rarely weeks. The effort is so worth it because the result will be an incredible living work of art that interacts with people and its environment. It’s about color, light and emotion. Glass is alive. Glass artwork totally transforms the feeling of a space.

The spirit and energy of living things has always intrigued me and continues to be at the very core of my art. Inspired by the temperament of my Asian background, I constantly strive to capture grace, movement and dimension of life in a simple, yet powerful way. Facets of nature are the soul of my art. Lyrical abstractions of nature come to life through the use of line, color, texture, balance and the silent beauty of glass.

You can find more examples of my work on my website: https://nancygong.com/

Small Works 2022 includes 200 works of art by 200 artists from 32 states and runs through Friday, December 23, 2022.

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