For years, I’ve been talking about ways to elevate the glass scene in Buffalo, never knowing that there was a well established local leader in the realm who first set up shop in 2009. It was glass sculptor and studio owner Vicki Schneider who first reached out to me to tell me about her business Expressive Glass. She said that her studio opened in 2009, and that she had been flame working for 14 years. It all started when she attended a class at Corning Glass Museum. The class led her to drop all of her corporate pursuits, which were many, to lead a life of glass.
Schneider was featured by Glassation as one of 18 Game-Changing Female Glass Artists.
Schneider started off making beads, and then after a couple of years expanded her boundaries to sculptural work. She began by sculpting dogs’ heads (from dog portraits) before eventually transitioned into sculpting figures of children, inspired by her own childhood. Because she did not have nay of her own children, she was able to romanticize through these whimsical lampworked art creations. She told me that the glasswork is a sort of security blanket for her, which is why she can be found in her studio seven days a week. For her, it’s not work, it’s therapeutic. Her work sculpting glass children led her towards constructing an entire playground, mostly out of glass, although she did teach herself some metalwork to build some of the playground equipment. Recently, shedonating the incredibly intricate work to the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital. The labor of love is on full display, to help brighten up children’s days as they attempt to deal with trying circumstances.
While the building of the glass playground is admirable, Schneider mentioned that creating glass children doesn’t pay the bills. It is her impressive flowers that are coveted by collectors. She is one of the only glassworkers that she is aware of that sculpts soda-lime soft glass flowers, which is extremely difficult because the process makes the glass very “shocky”. Not only is the process difficult and time consuming, transporting the flowers to collectors is just as arduous. Schneider mentioned that her lilies of the valley are the most sought after. She also said that there are some collectors out there that have more than one of her pieces – one couple has already amassed 14, and they continue to seek out her latest works.
Schneider has studied with some of the world’s most respected instructors, including Lucio Bubacco, Emilio Santini, Loren Stump, Bronwen Heilman, and Wesley Fleming.
Aside from creating her own works, Schneider hosts three or four classes a week – she is currently getting into her busy season. She also writes for a glass art magazine and has gained some popularity on Youtube.
Schneider often times says how therapeutic glass work can be. As I watched her create a glass implosion marble, I was completely transfixed. She is so in tune with the glass sculpting process that it has even helped her through some of life’s hardships. “It’s more of a ballet than a breakdance,” she imparted. “It’s all about anticipating and making wise decisions. It’s also a matter of the glass gods, which always play a role in the process. I always tell novice flameworkers and fusers not to panic!”
Not only was Schneider once a big shot in the corporate world, she was also a professional singer. Today, she’s only got one thing on her mind, and that’s glass. Along with being a glass artisan, she tends to geek out a little when describing the delicate scientific nuances. All of her past corporate experiences, muddled together with her passion for glass, have led her to be a well rounded expert in her domain, while still spending loads of time ensuring that her vast knowledge is handed down to others who are interested in learning the fascinating craft.
Expressive Glass – Lampworking Glass Art School and Studio | “We turn hot glass into cool stuff!”
3333 Lake Shore Rd. | Buffalo, NY 14219 | 716-825-3333
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