For Paula Stapleton and Karla Swarthout, a move to Seaford, Del. from the suburbs of Phoenix, Ariz. may have brought with it a change of scenery and climate, but one thing that has held strong is the appreciation for their glass artwork. What started as a hobby nearly two decades ago has evolved into a full-scale commitment, as the pair began Eye 4 Glass, LLC in Seaford two years back. Later this month, the pair will partake in the Second Annual Artisan’s Fair at the Millville Fire Hall on Route 26, Sponsored by the South Coastal Delaware AARP.
Eye 4 Glass has taken off for the duo since they began. “It was just something we just enjoyed doing,” said Stapleton. “We took a few classes, and it took off from there.” Now, the two spend as many as 40 hours a week in their studio, fashioning everything from glass mosaics and stained glass panels to jewelry and decorative plates and bowls. Stapleton specializes in three-dimensional pieces and fused glass, and her custom works that have stretched her talent and imagination are among some of her favorites. Swarthout’s fascination with hot glass came after courses with nationally renowned educators. She uses combing techniques to blend strips of glass together after they reach 1650 degrees fahrenheit.
“The freedom you have when working with glass is really unbelievable,” she said. “We’re always finding new things to do with it.” Their medium ranges from thin strands of glass to bits and pieces 1/8 of an inch thick, which once combined, can be shaped into nearly anything.
“It was a fun pastime when we first started,” said Stapleton, “and before long, our friends and family were telling us we should consider doing this as a profession.” Since relocating to Delaware, Eye 4 Glass has wasted no time getting into the community. The two have entered into numerous local shows and farmers’ markets throughout the area. They have been featured at Seaford’s Art in the Park, Historical Society and in local businesses. They have become members of several art leagues in areas such as Seaford and Delaware City, and have established their name with organizations such as Nanticoke River Arts and Delaware By Hand. From May 30 through June 30, Eye 4 Glass will feature works in the Peninsula Gallery in Lewes. “It’s been a lot of fun,” said Stapleton. “We’ve met a lot of people and organizations, and we’ve been very fortunate in expanding our work.”
“The more people we’re exposed to, the larger our clientele base,” Swarthout noted. “A lot about Eye 4 Glass gets out through word of mouth, too.”
Eye 4 Glass has even made their way into schools, teaching children the joy of art, paired with the influences of science and math. “Children are more eager to learn about something when they’re gaving fun with it,” said Stapleton. The duo has put together glass mosaics that will be hung in Phillis Wheatley Middle School in Bridgeville. “It’s a great way to not only work with kids, but to give back, too,” said Swarthout.
Stapleton’s and Swarthout’s work has been featured as far north in the state as Wilmington, although, the Artisans Fair in Millville will be their first venture into southeastern Sussex County.
Planned for Saturday, May 23, from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. at the Millville Fire Hall in Millville, the second annual Artisans Fair will feature quality original work from a three-state area. Art work, jewelry, photography, ceramics, wood carvings, children’s items and more will span from across Maryland and Delaware and parts of Pennsylvania, too.
Admission is free, while proceeds raised at the fair will provide scholarships for Indian River High School students.
For more information about Eye 4 Glass, visit www.eye4glass.com or call (302) 682-3801.