Catherine O'Connor has worked in various fields and in various media for many years. She is bringing this background to creating and teaching about the wonderful and versatile world of “Warm Glass.”
She started making doll clothes with her grandma at the age of 4 by cutting, fitting and sewing. This early start taught her how to create with patterns or detailed instructions. “Just do it!” This attitude was carried on into cooking, painting, playing in clay and into many works in other media. Catherine's mother and father helped her become interested in doing a variety of puzzles. This taught her how to analyze and look at things from different perspectives and instilled a curiosity about how things work.
After achieving degrees in mathematics and in education, she taught for a few years. While teaching an adult education tool and die certification course, she had the opportunity to take a carpentry class from master carpenters who had worked on the Independence Hall Restoration. This expanded the skill set farther.
Still not satisfied in what she was able to create, Catherine became proficient in stained glass, ever stretching the 2 dimensional boundaries of this art by adding a third dimension twist by soldering glass pieces off of a window panel or mirror surface, creating 3 dimensional soldered sculptures using found materials other than glass. This was entertaining for a while. Then Great Aunt Ceil donated a small ceramics kiln and along with a wonderfully rotten ton of clay. This was the start of an extensive career in pottery, which lasted for 14 years until a skin allergy erupted, caused by the mold in the clay. What to do? With an extensive art show schedule and wholesale accounts with gift stores all over the Northeast, this was a disappointment.
Again, timing is everything. A friend mentioned an interesting article and a conference in Corning, NY about adding heat to glass. Catherine read the article, read some books and played for a year with a great deal of success using the pottery kilns to work the glass in. Then she attended the conference the following year. Cue theatrical music: It was an amazing experience! The “AHA” moment… This is where all of the little nagging problems were solved and where all of the things that had been worked on before, all of the skills that had been learned before came together!
Due to being self-taught and with such a wide variety of skills in the background, Catherine's approach to the kiln working of glass is more intense than most fusion artists. There is quirkiness and a high degree of skill along with a degree of originality that is not usually found in this media. Her work has been featured on several HGTV programs, in the national trade magazines as well as in national consumer magazines and in many local magazines and newspaper articles. Pieces were commissioned and given as awards of state, and as awards to national institutions.
After taking a class with Catherine, her students are extremely happy and impressed with the artwork they learn how to create, and how all her classes are so intensive and exciting. Catherine is teaching Glass Art at Lockside Art Center, Lockport NY.