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The Evolving Artist

How does a retired psychiatric nurse find her métier in glass artistry?

Check with artist Fran Brolle of Shepherdstown Art Glass and Jewelers who has art and craft woven throughout her life starting with stringing beads. There is definitely a jewelry theme apparent in her ever evolving work. As she explored media with no destination in mind Brolle became particularly interested in glass and metal.

Her husband Steve worked in stained glass and “I loved what he did.” So classes followed. “Watching Steve and being amazed I decided I wanted to do more adventurous work in jewelry,” she explains. “ I especially wanted to learn metalsmithing with its bending, shaping, smoothing and soldering.”

As she made friends with similar artists including Carrie Singer, they decided to see if a market existed for their jewelry. It did and they both were off and running. After Steve’s death, Fran explored melding dichroic glass and silver in her jewelry and that is probably what she is best known for. But her journey continues. She’s experimenting with fusing and slumping glass and a class in painting on glass is on her calendar. She’s itching to do larger scale work.

So many artist’s journeys are studies in curiosity and perseverance. One can be talented but still have to search for the right outlet – the right medium that partners with their talent. Artist’s stories are stories of perseverance, of doing the work, of continuing to experiment, even of taking advantage of chance events. And visit Fran and enjoy her ever-evolving work at the July and November Over the Mountain Studio Tour shows.

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