Interview with Pat Doyle – Bellavista Glass

Glass is light, love, color, possibility, magic.

Humankind has a long history of using glass to adorn, to express, to protect, and defend.  Beads made of glass has been used to purchase something as valuable as an animal, a piece of land and even something as precious as another human being‘s life.

Stained glass has been used in churches and cathedrals to speak to the glory of faith and to illuminate both historical and mythical allegories, stories and legends.

Glass in itself is a bit of a conundrum.  It is sometimes liquid, sometimes solid, sometimes strong, and sometimes fragile.  At times sharp and dangerous others smooth sensuous and beguiling.  Its amorphous qualities make it difficult to define but the glowing colour, light, contours and shapes it takes on transmit the artist vision into something as unique as their very own voice.

As a medium and it can be opaque transparent or translucent as well as fanciful, functional, practical or frivolous and sometimes all of the above and while we the artists can cut, assemble, heat, manipulate and melt it, ultimately the fate of the piece rests in the hands of our tools, gravity, the power grid and happenstance.

It can be uplifting, magical, heartwarming or heartbreaking but you never really know until it’s done.  Basically to me, glass is light, love, color, possibility, magic.

I created from my earliest memories, paper, paint, crayons, markers even macaroni.  I began my dance with glass in the 1980s while living in the Yukon.  Starting in stained glass, too linear and rigid for me I moved onto fused glass and man oh man, I was hooked. Wishing for more fluidity in my work, I next added lampworking to my repertoire. Getting lost in the torch is one of my favorite places to be.

I also enjoy vitrigraph, painting abstract acrylics, silver smithing, felting, silk painting and videography. I host and produce a local cable TV show with Shaw called Artisans Alley showcasing local creatives. And one of my favorite things of all is introducing shiny new beginners to lampworking and glass fusing. I teach at the Vernon Community Arts Centre and some years at Red Deer Summer Series of the Arts.

Getting lost in the torch is one of my favorite places to be.

Light, Composition and Nature inspire me, also figuring out in my mind how to achieve an elusive result occupies my mind and heart until I figure out how to achieve it, sometimes that takes years. So too my dear friends and mentors, Leslie Rowe Israelson and Melanie Rowe take my breath away and were also some of my first glass teachers.

Also Loren Stump, Joanne Andrighetti, Bandhu Scott Dunham, Ikuyo Yamanaka, Leah Fairbanks, Lezlie Winemaker, Vi and Alexx Cheng such inspirational sharing and caring souls, each.

My next show will be at Gallery Vertigo in Vernon this June. Together with Gale Woodhouse we collectively show as Art Studio Vesta, honouring the goddess of Hearth and Home. With the sacred fire as her symbol we celebrate our mutual love of fire in our art, this show is about a yearning for the sound of the ocean, made even stronger thru these non-traveling times of the pandemic.

My goals for the future center around honing my craft and continuing to use glass as my primary vehicle to share my love of nature, light and texture.

  • interview by Leslie Israelson