It’s not often that we are invited to check out a local glass studio operation in Buffalo. McElf GlassWorks is a full service glass art studio that is run by third generation glass artisan by the name of Megan McElfresh Augspurger, though she’s known in the industry as “McElf”. The artist specializes in custom stained glass and sculptural glass work, and in her free time she helps to lend a hand with the restoration works of East Side architectural landmarks. Her accolades are many, as is her learned interest in the field of glass, as you can plainly see:
She received her BA in 2008, concentrating her studies in studio art glass methods and glass history while contributing to the Peninsula Glass Guild. In addition, she has also studied extensively at Pilchuck Glass School, the Corning Museum of Glass, and Vitrum Glass Studio. During tenure in the DC area, McElf was active with the National Capital Art Glass Guild and assisted with the renovation and founding of Artful Dimensions Sculpture Gallery in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
McElf’s glass studio is located at 255 Pratt Street on the city’s East Side. It is there that she works on projects that include stained glass, kilnforming, mosaic, or sculptural glass work. You can see examples of these types of works by clicking here.
Recently McElf has been busy helping to orchestrate a community mural project at the front entranceway of Masten Park called “Ray of Light”. For someone who is not originally from Buffalo, the artist has certainly taken this city under her wing. “The park’s giant mosaic is in the studio,” she told me. “The work needed to be built flat. The painting is being done on site (at the park). Wednesday morning we head out to install for three days. It was hard to get traction on this project primarily due to the subject matter of the mural – issues of rape and domestic violence, and the awareness that a public art project can bring to the forefront. We had five weeks to build what should have been a four month project. I had help from two interns from Buffalo Arts Studio (Jumpstart Program) – we’ve worked a combined 250 hours since starting. In the end, it will be a 350 hour project that we will have pulled off in a month and a half. I believe in the issue and the East Side, and will do whatever it takes to complete the project on schedule.”
McElf’s studio is located in the center of a massive 60,000 square foot building. That means that she has room to grow as needed (she repairs the space as she goes). “I’m originally from Miami,” she told me. “And then DC… and I kept coming north. I fell in love with a guy from Buffalo and followed him home. I gave up my great job in DC and here I am. I moved here in August of 2011. I started the business in a small studio space within this building around the same time – a little room in the back. Now I’ve got over 2000 square feet in the middle of the building. Back in DC, I was on a very straight and narrow path for so long. Buffalo is a different world than DC. In Buffalo you can take risks. The city afforded me to own my own business. Other than working non-stop, there was also a brief pause to get married and have a kid [laughing].”
Now McElf is opening the doors of her studio for an Open House, scheduled to be held on Thursday, October 22 from 5pm to 9pm. The community is invited to come see the artist’s operation, the projects that are underway, and the world of glass that she has surrounded herself in.
There’s a fairly active glass scene in Buffalo, and one that could be getting much stronger if certain stars align. Stay tuned for more developments and projects, as McElf finds herself getting wrapped up in additional inspirational projects around Buffalo. In the meantime, come out and meet her at the Open House, and learn about this fascinating glass works studio undertaking that she is heading up.