Eclectic artist is glass blower, flame worker, and designer

By Timber Masterson

Artist Theresa McPherson. Photo: Timber Masterson.

It’s an eclectic body of work, constantly drawing inspiration from images in pop culture. Combine that with her satirical look at the complex nature of human relationships and you get a sense of Teresa McPherson’s art.

McPherson, a Lindsay resident, doesn’t exactly allow herself to be pigeon-holed into one particular artistic expression, saying she is a “crafts person, designer, glass blower and flame worker.”

Photo: Timber Masterson.

When she’s not toiling at her full-time job, acting as a florist at Classic Flowers, she’s busy working towards getting work ready for her next show, where she’ll be showcasing men’s and ladies glass jewelry and incorporating some new leather work. She’s also working on an art installation called “The Greatest Show on Earth,” a glass collection circus of freak-show elements, oddities and animals.

McPherson began her glass education at Sheridan College in the early 90s, where she graduated from the school of crafts and design. She continued her studies spending one year at the University Of Industrial Arts And Design, in Helsinki, Finland. In 1996, Teresa spent the next three years as a resident at the Harbourfront Centre Glass studio, where she further developed her skills as a glass maker.

McPherson co-founded, Palace Contemporary Art & Fine Craft, a gallery located in Toronto, in the early 2000s, where she worked as the gallery director/curator until it eventually closed.

The artist is from Lindsay originally, and came back here five years ago to be closer to her family.

Over the years McPherson has created an eclectic body of work – evident as one tours her studio. This includes glass slippers, poodles, and functional bowls to large sculptural glass dolls. She has recently added flame-working to her repertoire and alongside her glassblowing she is creating jewelry in her new flame-working studio.

McPherson still refers to herself as a “hobbyist,” despite all her education and experience.

“I have also had an opportunity to showcase my glass jewelry in a pop-up trunk show at the store. I am currently working on an art project that will be showcased in Janetville at the Valentia Arts Festival and Heritage Day on July 18 at Valentia Church and Community Centre.

McPherson is also working on a collaborative experimental glass and film project (fusing liquid light and torch worked glass) with her niece, Lindsay resident Sydney Ballam.

“I’m always trying to find ways to totally free myself artistically, while at the same time eliminating some false sense of trying to do it for the money…not being caged by traditional trappings of success…” she says.

These days she is inspired and moved by the Italian artist Elsa Schiaparelli, a fashion designer influenced by the surrealists and someone who collaborated with Salvador Dali.

“The switch to flame-working has been a challenge. It’s a very different medium from glass-blowing. Instead of glass pipes and a tank full of glass, it’s little glass rods and a small single flame”

Glassies (people who work with glass) always say glass-blowing is like a dance,” she says, taking out her turntable and throwing on some Teenage Head.

The song “Let’s Shake” makes her point as it reverberates throughout her studio.

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