Emily Powell: A Master Glassblower Inspired by Nature's Geometry
Emily Powell, a glassblower residing in the scenic mountains of North Carolina, has made a significant mark in the art world with her unique perspective and approach to glassblowing. Her work, often inspired by the interplay between nature and geometry, has garnered significant attention and praise from critics and art enthusiasts alike.
Emily's Journey: A Shift from Speech Therapy to Glassblowing
Emily, originally intending to become a speech therapist, was a Spanish and psychology major at UNC Asheville. However, a chance encounter with glassblowing during her sophomore year changed her life's trajectory entirely. She took a spontaneous 30-minute walk-in class at the North Carolina Glass Center and was immediately captivated by the art of manipulating molten glass. Despite completing her degrees, she has been ardently pursuing her dream to become a glassblower ever since. Now a full-time artist, she sells her work on Etsy, in galleries, and to businesses.
Delving into the Art: Emily's Signature Piece
Emily's work often showcases the beautiful geometric processes of nature. One of her recent and notable pieces, 'Cross Section of a Carolina Pine', was created for a show curated by Kim Self at the North Carolina Glass Center. The show's theme was the interplay between nature and geometry, a concept that Emily beautifully manifested in her piece. The artwork features tree rings etched onto a platter with notched sections on the outside to mimic tree bark. Each growth-ring represents a year in the tree's life, demonstrating the environmental conditions it survived, thus serving as a tribute to nature's resilience, beauty, and geometry.
Connection with the Audience: An Integral Part of Emily's Artistic Journey
Emily believes in the importance of connection. She maintains a strong online presence on platforms like Instagram and Facebook and enjoys meeting collectors and enthusiasts both online and in person. Living in a small town has made it easy for her to establish meaningful connections simply by engaging in conversations with people.
Environmentally-Inspired Art: A Tribute to Nature and Sustainability
The lush Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, which Emily calls home, provide an abundance of inspiration for her work. Her creations are heavily influenced by nature, plants, and the environment. Additionally, Emily is a resident artist at the Jackson County Green Energy Park, where she uses landfill gases to fuel her glassblowing and blacksmithing studios. This unique initiative has inspired Emily to create glass cups, straws, and other items that help reduce plastic waste, further underlining her commitment to sustainability.
Emily's Artistic Style: A Fusion of Joy, Color and Pattern
Emily's artistic style is vibrant and playful. She loves incorporating color and patterns into her work. Whether it's a spiral running throughout the body of a piece or a pattern of tree rings sandblasted onto a platter, Emily believes in the joyfulness of art. She aims to make glass that is not only beautiful but functional, offering pride to the user for decades.
Future Aspirations: Continual Growth and Learning
Emily's ultimate goal is to keep blowing glass for as long as she can, continually learning new skills and techniques. She takes pride in every order she receives, regardless of its size. Recently, she has been doing more memorial work and wishes to increase the quantity of these pieces in the future.
Overcoming Challenges and Imposter Syndrome
Like many artists, Emily has grappled with imposter syndrome. Despite her initial lack of business knowledge, the support from her family and her willingness to learn have helped her mitigate these feelings. She is currently enrolled in a Masters of Entrepreneurship program at Western Carolina University to further enhance her business skills and confidence.
Memorial Glass: A Unique Tribute
In addition to her functional glass pieces, Emily also creates memorial glass. She combines a small amount of ashes from loved ones or pets with glass to produce a unique and heartfelt tribute. This ability to create meaningful and lasting memories is what makes Emily's work stand out in the industry. Her studio, often filled with laughter and music, is a testament to the joy and passion she brings to her craft.