A lifelong love of arts and crafts has evolved into a very specialized artistic venture for one Mississippi couple. Carla and Roger Sturdivant are the owners and creators of Fused Glass, located in Florence. Surprisingly, they are completely self taught, and draw their inspiration from all types of artists and media.
The Sturdivants enjoyed working in woodcrafts for over 25 years, winning numerous ribbons from shows throughout Mississippi. Deciding to venture out, Roger enrolled in a stained glass course but wasn’t really inspired by it. Unbeknownst to them, they were very close to discovering their true passion. During a cruise to New England, they were exposed to fused glass products for the first time, and fell in love. After intensive research, they produced their first creation, a ruffled bowl with flowers in the bottom of it.
For Roger, his studio is somewhat of a sanctuary. “When Roger steps through the doors of his studio at 6:00 a.m., he transforms into a truly different person. His manner is very calm, and very creative”, says Carla.
While the artistic process may seem laborious to most, it is truly a labor of love for the Sturdivants. Every color in a finished piece was an individual piece of glass before the first firing in a kiln at 1450 degrees. That first step in the process takes 12 hours to heat up, melt the numerous pieces into one solid piece, and then cool down. After that, the new pieces of glass can be made into different forms by firing the glass again, to 1250 degrees, for 10 hours. In addition to using two kilns, a propane torch is also used to add unique twists to the thin pieces of glass. Each piece is unique.
Roger shares, “One of the hardest steps in creating the line, is cutting the glass without cutting myself. Using hand cutters and a diamond blade ring saw can also be challenging, and requires strict concentration.”
The finished pieces are bright, colorful, functional, and downright fun! Appealing to all age groups, it has been described as a “party for the eyes”. The Fused Glass line is very diversified, from home accessories to serving dishes, yard art to business card holders, and even repurposed window frames with fused glass inserts.
The couple is currently working on Pot melts, a new fused glass concept. During their down time, you will find them pursuing their other passions; travelling, camping, and junk-teaking.
By Liz Walker
Taken from Magnolia State of Mind 2013 edition. The official magazine of the Mississippi Craft Show. www.magnoliastateofmind.com
About the Mississippi Craft Show
Mississippi Craft Show – August. The state’s only 100% Mississippi Handmade art and craft show. Featuring handworks from Mississippi craftsmen. www.mscraftshow.com
Handmade USA Show – March. The same quality handworks you expect at the August show from Mississippi craftsmen and also from across the region. All 100% handmade in the USA. www.handmadeusashow.com