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Life & Work with Sheila Noseworthy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sheila Noseworthy.  

Hi Sheila, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
I’m a contemporary stained-glass artist who creates wearable fine art glassworks. Using rare and vintage architectural glass I translate a traditionally rigid building process into modern, intricate, and illuminated clutch, bouquet, and handbag designs. I have always been a creative and mess maker, but a few years ago I really began to dive into glasswork and push the boundaries of the traditional construction method. Architectural glass is typically flat panels and not intended to be a wearable medium so that brings engineering and safety challenges. It’s a lot of trial and error to develop a way to subtly reinforce a piece and still exude grace and a delicate feel. I’m fascinated by how you can translate a cold, fragile, and inflexible piece of glass into a wearable design that exudes strength, movement, and femininity. I strive to push the structural boundaries of glasswork and I absolutely love the shifting properties of glass. A piece can change hundreds of times depending on the waning sunlight or angle of view. I am a self-taught artist and primarily build with the Tiffany copper foil method – a hand-cut process that was patented in the late 1800s. I love using vintage glass and get lost in creating a modern piece with a century-old technique. I love that a new piece already carries history through its technique and materials and my goal is to create contemporary but timeless pieces that gain character, patina, and stories as they age. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
While I have always been drawn to my creative side, I didn’t pursue an art degree and opted for something more practical. I had a difficult time calling myself an “artist”. Over the years I was consistently diving into making things and creating art in all mediums and I began to value art as an essential form of expression and therapeutic release. Art helps me process anxiety and channel strength – I just created a glass clutch series channeling fierce mythological women. My Medusa handbag features green and black deep opalescent vintage glass snakeskin. Medusa’s name was derived from the Greek verb meaning “protect and guard”. Over 400 hand-cut pieces allow for internal illumination and play with the idea of Medusa not as a threat, but as a guardian. 

I also love my Pele clutch series. Glass is born from fire and flame and this series reflects the transformative energy of Pele Goddess of Fire. Deeply textured black iridized glass and rare pigmented reds mimic her fiery lava flows and powerful primordial force. The pandemic created a lot of anxiety for me and I was unable to create for a long time. When I challenged myself to build again, I couldn’t cut flowers and botanicals, but by channeling these fierce mythological women I was able to step back into my studio and shatter glass, rebuild it, work with it and create something strong and beautiful. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I’m known for creating 3D pieces and engineering wearable or multi-dimensional glasswork. Aside from lamps, stained glass is traditionally a flat panel, suncatcher, or architectural medium. I reinterpret a fiery industrial process into humanized pieces that channel the female energy whether displayed as fine art or worn as a moving exhibit. Glass morphs with the light and angle of view, so I think it’s a beautiful challenge to make a wearable piece that honors that movement. I am proud of pushing the construction limitations of glasswork. I hope to launch a line of clutches, have brides carry glass bouquets, and red-carpet attendees walk on my Notre Dame architecturally inspired glass heels. If they can dream it, I can build it. 

We’d love to hear what you think about risk-taking?
I am an introvert and the pandemic only drove me more into isolation and anxiety. I realize that in order to have my pieces seen I need to put my work out there and take the risk that it won’t be well received. The biggest risk I have taken with my work was applying to the first-ever stained-glass reality show. Incredibly, I was selected to compete alongside three of the nation’s best glass artisans! It was intense and nerve-wracking and every move was scrutinized and zoomed in on. I was thrilled to make it through elimination and showcased a final piece in the Meet Your Makers Showdown gallery. The show streamed globally on discovery+ and I’m very proud of what all the artists achieved under immense pressure. I used to be fairly risk-averse, but after applying and making it through to the show, it was a lesson in what can be achieved when stepping outside your comfort zone. It helped me grow into the artist mindset and recognize that becoming a working artist is my dream. I have to take more risks, learn to promote myself and put my work out there to achieve my goals of creating red carpet and bridal pieces. 

Pricing:

  • Clutches $1500+

Contact Info:

  • Email: sheilaszilagyi@gmail.com
  • Website: www.sheilaszilagyi.com
  • Instagram: @sheilaszilagyi
  • Twitter: @sheilaszilagyi

Image Credits
Dena Meeder

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