By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
Westborough – The creative community is what drives artist Nancy E. Burke to create beautiful works of art using glass as her medium.
In 1999, she toured some homes with vintage stained glass, some of which were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Immediately drawn to this art form, Burke enrolled in a class at Assabet at Night in Hudson to learn the art of stained glass. There she learned the basics of how to cut, wrap and solder stained glass. She followed up by taking additional classes at Donovan’s Glasslight in Southborough once a week.
While working in the computer industry, Burke continued taking classes during her free time and came upon another art form using glass called glass fusing.
“Glass fusing is glass that has been formed in the kiln. Cut sheet glass gets put in a mold in the kiln,” Burke explained. “When it softens from the heat, gravity takes over and puts it into its new form. This is what I am currently concentrating on.”
Burke likes to use architectural glass when working with stained glass but she will use it as a single layer. She likes to buy highly textured and colored material. When she treats it with heat to create bowls and plates she is able to get a “streaky” effect. This is known as “slumping.”
“Bullseye Glass Company certified their glass to be compatible for fusing in a kiln. For my landscapes, I take pieces of Bullseye glass and arrange them on another piece of Bullseye glass,” Burke said. “The three art forms I use the glass for are fusing, slumping and recycled wine and champagne bottles that I collect and make into cheeseboards by flattening them in the kiln. While I am phasing out the cheeseboards, I am trying to concentrate on the landscape designs with my fused glass.”
Burke is now trying to spend most of her creative energy at this art form, as this is the one she enjoys the most. A source of interest for both Burke and her husband, Don Burn, is nature. They are involved with environmental organizations like the Sudbury Valley Trustees, Westborough Community Land Trust (WCLT) and the Organization for the Assabet, Sudbury and Concord Rivers (OARS). Burke uses her artistry to depict nature as an extension of her commitment to the environment and its beauty.
Burke showcases her work at craft fairs in the fall and at local galleries and co-ops. Her principal shows are fine craft shows that are highly selective. She enjoys the Codman Estate and the Fruitlands Museum shows. The show that she deems her best is the Holiday Festival at the Worcester Center for Crafts held each Thanksgiving weekend. Her work can be found at three brick and mortar co-ops including Craftworks in Northborough, Gallery 529 in Littleton, and Clever Hand Gallery in Wellesley.
“I love the creative outlet this art form gives me,” said Burke. “I especially enjoy working with fellow artisans and being a part of the artistic community.”