Artist profile: Glasswork blower Jennifer Baker
Color gleams in the reflection of translucent light as the uncertainty of Jennifer Baker’s final product comes to fruition. She’s not exactly sure how it will turn out, but everyone who knows her and her glasswork knows it will be beautiful.
Glasswork is a process that takes precision, patience and an acceptance of the unexpected. Baker knows the elements of this process well and has worked in this artistic medium since 2007, when she moved to Steamboat Springs from Cincinnati.
“I feel like I’ve always been an artist,” Baker says. “It’s not something I decided to do, it’s something that’s always sort of been within me, that drive to create.”
After working in a wide variety of mediums, she says that as she got older there was a natural transition to glasswork and something just clicked. “I never looked back after I learned how to work with glass,” she says. “I’m not sure what it was but I was always drawn to it.”
Immersing herself in the depth of color and textural makeup Steamboat’s mountain landscape offers, Baker’s glasswork incorporates characteristics that are ever-present in the Yampa Valley, like the expansive skies, glistening lakes, wildflowers, fish, aspen trees and more. With her work resembling more of an organic foundation with its fluidity, at times she’ll start with one idea and continue in an entirely different direction.
“Some ideas I just sort of go with it,” Baker says. “I don’t like to rush through anything. I want it done right and to come out the way I envision it in my mind.”
Typically her process starts with a sheet of glass as her canvas, which then transforms as she builds upon layers of glass and colors prior to the firing in the glass kiln. Down to a science, her experience in glasswork has enabled her to inherently know which temperature will create the right results.
“I’m largely self taught, mostly by trial and error and a lot of frustration,” Baker says. “I feel like there is always something new to learn. A lot of times, if I’m curious about something I’ll try it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.”
Her work was recently featured in the “Symbiosis” exhibit at the Depot Art Center with David Marshal’s metal sculptures. Her pieces have also been a mainstay at the Circle 7 Fine Art Gallery downtown for the past three years.
“Coming from the city forced me to slow down and appreciate my surroundings,” Baker says. “I started to notice a lot of things I hadn’t before. That helped me see the nature and beauty around me because I wasn’t in such a fast-paced environment anymore. I actually have the time to appreciate it.”
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