Beauty comes together one piece at a time.
Dave and Valerie Phillips sometimes see the world through rose-colored glass, sometimes through blue, and other times simply a clear textured pane.
As stained glass artists and owners of Stained Glass Creations, LLC, the Phillips are in the business of creating artwork that others envision, turning dreams into reality, and personal memorabilia into displayable conversation pieces.
In some cases, the clients aren’t sure what they want, but with the help of Valerie’s imagination and Dave’s technical skills, it all comes together.
The Phillips became enamored with creating stained glass art more than 36 years ago. Valerie uses “found” objects of all shapes and sizes to accent her artwork; her creations can hang or be freestanding. Dave has stricter parameters when creating. Any objects incorporated into his artwork have to fit between the lead channels that serve to form the framework or strengthen the piece…or, the flatter, the better.
Parameters or not, Dave finds ways to go beyond the expected. “A couple of years ago, I created a window with a Steampunk theme,” he recalls. “I added a couple of bicycle gears, used crimson glass to represent clock hands on the prism glass, and created a realistic representation of silver pipe with lighter colored fittings. It turned out to be a nice art deco piece. The customer was very happy with the result, and so was I.”
Valerie’s stained glass creations may use an antique saucer, plate, or even a bowl, as the centerpiece, framed with swirls of lead, and adorned with translucent marbles and crystal pendants. A hanging glass lamp with inlaid buttons and “found” antique jewelry, a significant brooch handed down from a favorite aunt; her artwork tells stories and captures memories.
“There are so many ways to showcase items of sentimental value,” says Valerie, as she flips through a digital gallery of her work. “Repurposing is huge right now,” she continues. “Maybe it’s a longing for a reattachment to our past, a time when we were making things here in the USA, back when you got something for nothing…”
Every customer has a unique point of view on how to incorporate memories into sharable art. Valerie and Dave once received a request to create five separate pieces of hanging art, incorporating a memory-laden cobalt blue ice cream bowl into each.
The hanging stained glass creations were gifts for each of the woman’s five daughters. She thought it would be a great way to preserve an icon of family memories in a contemporary manner. For Valerie and Dave, it was a welcome challenge, one more opportunity to do what they love and make someone happy by doing it.
While the Phillips are passionate about their work with stained glass, their efforts to grow the art community north of the river extend far beyond a single medium.
Both David and Valerie are co-founders of the non-profit Northtowne Arts Coalition (NAC). They serve on the board, providing leadership, inspiration, and a shared passion involving art for healing.
“One of the biggest reasons for starting NAC started with Art for Healing,” explains Valerie. Children and adults can heal through the transformation of their art. It’s a proven fact that art helps people express experiences that are too difficult to put into words. We value the psychological and social aspect of what it does for children. This was instrumental in getting the backing of NKC and $15,000 toward our upcoming Fine Arts Festival.”
This summer, NAC will partner with the NKC Parks and Recreation Department to sponsor a Fine Arts Festival, Art in the Park. The event will take place June 9 and 10 at Macken Park on Friday from 5 p.m. -9 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
The event will feature traveling artists, jugglers, live music, a beer and wine garden, food trucks, and more. A Northtowne Plenair will begin Friday afternoon. Members of the NAC will select and jury entries for the show and present awards for the Plenair competition on Saturday.
Future plans by the NAC include an ongoing gallery display, a Made-Local Marketplace, and a larger workspace for artists to collaborate. The group currently has its headquarters at Jane Butchering’s Harlequin Arts, 2030 Swift in NKC. For The Northtowne Arts Coalition membership or sponsorship, and a list of upcoming events and classes, check out NAC-NKC.com, HarlequinArts.com, or stop by the studio in person. To see more of Valerie and Dave Phillips’ work, go to NKCStainedGlass.com.