I love installations—you know—the kind of art you can get lost in. Something crafted by hand, placed with a purpose, filling up a room with a whisper of what inspired the creator.
That’s Catie Newell’s specialty. She was trained as an architect and now constructs stunning glass formations that interplay with space, form, light, and color (along with her partners, Wes McGee and Aaron Willette). The pieces photographed above are from a projected entitled, Displace.
Glass is a material unlike any other, and that’s what has Catie mesmerized. The paradoxical attributes of strength and fragility mixed with the fact that it can only be manipulated at a heat that is completely intolerable to humans makes for a complex and challenging medium. Beauty that comes in the form of distortion and bent reflections of the world is the kind that sticks with you, rolling around in your head for days.
People are often surprised to discover that the mastermind behind these works, often described as “violent, aggressive, and jarring,” are the creations of a female artist. Catie dips into the give-and-take between darkness, delicacy, and estrangement through a craft that demands a lot of hard physical work. Take that for defying stereotypes.
Catie is wearing: Carhartt Women’s Pondera Shirt, Amoret Vest, & 1889 Slim-Fit Double-Front Dungaree.
In a time when men outnumber women in films 3 to 1 on screen, unequal pay based on gender still unfairly affects females on a day to day basis, and social media and advertising outlets are repeatedly beating women down with unrealistic and often times contradictory expectations about beauty, health, and happiness; it’s time we stand together and let out stories and experiences bring about an era of change. Let’s applaud the women who are out there defying stereotypes and pushing forward in careers and fields where they are outnumbered. From one woman’s triumph shared to another’s inspiration spurred, small changes will amount to larger ones that can eventually redefine what it means to be a working woman.
Ona Magaro’s glass creations and her life story are quite the achievements to admire. She has turned her passion into a thriving business. After years of fine-tuning her craft, her work is breathtaking and unlike any I’ve seen. Take a look at the glass sculpture Ona created for us, from start to finish. She envisions the body of a bird by utilizing the simplicity of a single color and an elongated curve, free flowing and elegant. But don’t let the airy nature of her art fool you. It’s hard work, requiring a tremendous amount of physical strength and a heaping load of creativity. Her advice to anyone hoping to follow in her footsteps is to study marketing, accounting, and writing to build a successful business around the artistic talent.
As Oscar Wilde would say, we live in a world where “life imitating art” is an everyday occurrence. May Ona’s art and experiences be something that young women can look up to and hope to emulate as they grow and discover what path they’ll pursue. When I asked Ona what she wanted to teach her children about the arts, and how she hoped her work will affect the way they interpret the world around them, her simple response is what I hope to share with you, “That anything is possible.”
Ona’s workwear: Carhartt Women’s Long-Sleeve Signature T-Shirt, Women’s Series 1889 Slim Double-Front Dungaree, & C-Grip Knuckler Glove
last photo above taken by Jessie Moore
Michelle, co-founder of Furnace Design Studio in Dearborn, Michigan, is without a doubt a Carhartt woman. She can go from spreading her love for glass art wearing her double fronts one minute in studio to the next outside on a hike in the same pair of pants. As a mom and a business owner, dual functionality makes life easier and even more enjoyable so you have more time to focus on the good stuff— like art, family, and community. Furnace Design revolves around those three aspects. Find out how you can sign up to take a class and learn about the amazing glass blowing process for yourself.
Michelle is wearing Carhartt women’s double front dungaree, canyon sandstone jacket, long sleeve logo Tee, and striped knit hat.
Katrine is a woman of many trades—ranging from interior design, retail styling, creating wooden sculptures and paper designs, to glass blowing. She invited me to her house while I was in Boston. I was so blown away by the space she and her husband, Peter, live in. I felt like I was taking a peek into a museum of their lives. Surfboards line the walls and their studio spaces flow seamlessly into the living space. Every nook and cranny is filled with something they’ve created or that’s important to them. Katrine’s interior design skills and up-cycled items create an inspiring and soulful environment. Take a look at the lamp Katrine is working on in the first few photos here. It’s made from vintage player piano paper, and each lamp has a different song streaming across it.
I also got to watch as they worked on a chandelier they are designing for a customer’s kitchen. (Check out some of their other collaborative work here.) It’s great to see a couple work so well together. In fact, they first met in a glass blowing class. I love a couple who works together and wears Carhartt together!
To see some more of Katrine’s sculptures and paper designs, explore her website here.
If I had to think of one word to describe Carrie’s work, it would be haunting. Not in the terrifying sense of the word. It’s the kind of work that sticks with you, like a dream glued to the back of your eyelids. Much of her work revolves around the idea of a memory. I really connect with that description. Carrie’s pieces feel like a faint whisper of something you stored in the back corner of your mind.
Carrie is a printmaker, painter, and glassworker— all in one. Bullseye Glass Company in Portland currently represents her. I got to tag along one day at Shatter Glass Group in Chicago as she put the finishing touches on a piece she’d been working on.
It’s refreshing that Carrie doesn’t take a standoffish approach to her art. She explains that she loves “the tactile aspects of glass— how it encourages people to touch it. The quality of the material is interesting because it suggests glass’s more functional history— as every day objects that are meant to be touched and held and used.”
Check out Carrie’s work here.