Gigi Laberge's Fire and Glass
The artist creates landscapes and jewelry
Glass artist Gigi Laberge of Henniker started out as a watercolor landscape painter. But she wasn’t happy with her paintings, and she often cut them up to use for jewelry. That all changed after she took a fused glass workshop. “Since then, the tail has been wagging the dog,” she explains.
Now working with fused glass as a canvas, she remains influenced by her environment. Palm trees appear when she visits her mother in Florida, fiddlehead ferns are a focus in spring, and even her trip to the Southwest imbued her work with turquoise stones and spare landscapes. With her eye as a painter, she conjures an underwater scene with jellyfish or an iris blooming in spring or the rolling hills of New Hampshire in subtle shades of green and blue. Using glass enamel with the consistency of thick ink, she draws on glass with a touch that reveals her rendering skill. Even under the high temperature of 1,100 degrees for fusing glass, the lines, like a work in pen and ink, remain light and lyrical.
In addition to two-dimensional images for display, she designs jewelry pieces in a combination of glass and natural materials. Her heart necklace, shown here, uses cultured pearls that contrast and reflect the red of the glass. Sometimes the pearls are mounted with a post fused directly into the glass. Her earrings are also a showcase for her love of dichroic glass — glass with a mineral coating that gives it sparkle and contrasts nicely with the luster of pearls.
Laberge continues to create and experiment. Her latest work, named Silver Pools, sandwiches a layer of silver between a sheet of glass with a top of crushed glass. When heated until molten, a molecular reaction creates unexpected results. Another project, her annual glass ornament, is released at holiday time.
Find her work at all of the League of NH Craftsmen retail shops across the state, the Paradise City show in Northhampton, Massachusetts, in May and the League’s Sunapee fair each August. Laberge also originated and still runs Crafts at the Capitol in November at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord.
Check her website for a multitude of other craft show appearances.