She looks across the counter at single sheets of stained glass: a rainbow of colors and textures. Some are transparent, some opaque, others are marbled with varying tones like a sky swirled with clouds. She sets aside a handful of individual pieces. Soon each will find its place into a newly formed mosaic creation. And so it begins: the thoughtful process of cutting, shaping, and composing a unique design that will boast a colorful, textural, abstract wall-hanging.
Linda Jacobs is an artist and art teacher. Art has been a part of her whole life: a passion she shares with her grandmother, mother, daughter, and grandchildren. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Masters in Secondary Art, both from Siena Heights University, she taught for 30 years in a high school and college setting, until recently. Jacobs says she aspires to create unique pieces you won’t find others making.
She remembers how it started. It was a 3-D class in college where she first worked with scraps of glass mosaics. She enjoyed the project and thought, “I might try my hand at this again in the future.” And now, years later, she is self-taught in this discipline, having read numerous books, watched videos, and experimented with her own techniques.
Linda gathers her inspiration from sketches and notes in her notebook, from small sections of other artist’s works, or at times, from household items, such as forks, pens, or found objects. Occasionally, she sees something and thinks, “I can translate that into glass!”
Whereas in Greek or Roman history, mosaics were mostly created with tiles of ceramic or glass, Linda works with mosaics created of stained glass, beads, crushed glass, or anything she deems worthy to be added into a new creation.
As you look around Jacobs’ studio you will see an array of colored stained glass, glass cutters, a grinder for rough edges, kiln for fusing glass, aluminum and copper foils, and more. She begins a mosaic project by edging a ¾” plywood surface with wood strips making a frame around the sides. Then she glues foil to the surface to reflect light so the glass can best showcase its color or pattern. Pulling out the glass mosaics, she carefully places colors and textures just so, cutting the glass pieces to fit perfectly into the spaces and shapes she desires. At times, she will incorporate found objects, a bead, a wave of curved glass.
Mingled among the mosaic works are other fused glass pieces. Jacobs describes this process as bonding pieces of glass together in a kiln heated to roughly 1300 degrees. The heat creates a tack bond allowing textures to remain in the glass. If the pieces receive a full fuse at 1400 degrees, the glass becomes smooth, a melting together of the pieces.
Linda must be certain of the types of glass she uses. One kind is made for fusing, the other for mosaics. Fusing glasses can be placed in a kiln to be bonded together; mosaic glasses cannot stand the heat and must be bonded differently – with glue or solder.
Linda examines the final layout; if satisfied, she glues it all together using E6000 glue which will dry clear overnight. The next day she grouts the artwork adding in any fused pieces she wishes to incorporate. For a final touch, she finishes the frame – pulling the look together, at times by painting the edges, or choosing a purchased option from local thrift shop, estate sale, or craft store.
Her work can span a few days from start to completion depending on how firm her idea begins and the processes she needs to work out that idea. When determining whether a piece is complete, she says she adds carefully. “Sometimes more is just more,” she explains. “You have to know when is enough and move past that point where the piece doesn’t need anything more.”
Linda takes joy in sharing her love for art by teaching classes at her home studio and at the Adrian Center for the Arts. She shares, “Whatever I can do, my students can do. I enjoy sharing what I know.” She doesn’t hesitate to give back. She is grateful for what she has been given as an artist and jumps at the opportunity to share her knowledge and work with others!
Jacob’s works have been showcased at the Annual MFA/MAEA Art Acquisitions and juried in to the Lansing Michigan Education Association. She displays at shows in Adrian and Tecumseh, Michigan and Cincinnati, Ohio.
A 10 year veteran of Artalicious, glass lovers can interact with Linda and her bold, colorful designs at Artalicious this September!