Phyllis Carter has gotten so attached to the many glass art pieces she’s created, that the Washougal artist said she’s now having trouble finding room to store all of them.
But no matter how much she might love a certain piece, Carter said she won’t create any duplicates.
“I don’t like to make two of the same things,” she said. “I spend (a lot of) time thinking about it before I do it, because glass is a little bit different than working with a canvas. With glass, you have engineering, you have to cut it, you have to fit it and make it all work together, and then you have to put it into a kiln and fire it at very specific temperatures over several hours, so there’s a lot more thought behind glass. It’s a science besides being art. I think about things before I do them. I wake up in the night thinking, ‘No, that’s how I should do this.’”
This weekend, the public will have a chance to see the fruits of Carter’s labor up close and explore artwork by 15 other artists during the 2023 Washougal Studio Artists Tour Holiday Market, set to take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 18-19, at four Washougal locations.
“The tour provides an opportunity to invite customers into artists’ studios to better understand the process they go through to create these works of art,” said event organizer and fused-glass artist Shirley Bishop. “People love to buy directly from the artist, see their workspace, and learn more about them. The pieces in the tour are exceptional and unique. These artists are not ‘crafters.’ They are truly artists making a living selling their art.”
Washougal Studio Artists Tour organizers debuted the Holiday Market in 2021, as a way to expand on their popular Washougal Studio Artists Tour event, which has been held every Mother’s Day weekend in May since 2018.
“Customers at our Mother’s Day tour asked if we held anything like this near the holidays,” Bishop said. “Customers were impressed with what they saw. They were impressed with the quality and uniqueness of the art. They wanted access to our local artists for their holiday shopping.”
Participating artists include Carter; Bishop; Linda Andrews-Riggs (watercolors); Sharon Buckmaster (wearable art); Sandy Moore (fiber art); Regina Westmoreland (mixed media); Ellen Nordgren (mixed media); Deborah Nagano (mixed media); Liz Nye (mixed media); Toni McCarthy (boho-style jewelry); Tamara Dinius (mixed media); Kathy Marty (hand-woven rugs and home goods from Pendleton woolen scraps); LesleyAnne Ezelle (alpaca fiber and clay); Roxanne Turley (alcohol ink/mixed media); David Van Zandt (bronze sculptures and oil); and Charlene Hale (glass).
The event is sponsored in part by a city of Washougal lodging tax grant.
From ink stains to glass stains
Carter, a first-time Holiday Market participant, first dabbled in glass artwork “decades ago,” creating stained glass with a lead soldering iron.
She gave it up when she moved with her husband to Germany in 1994, but rediscovered it after retiring from her career as a newspaper reporter.
“I needed something to do, so I thought, ‘Well, I’ll take up my art with the stained glass again,’ and the first studio I found near me, (the instructor) was doing fused glass, which I had never heard of,” said Carter, whose journalism career included stints at the Arizona Republic in Phoenix and Bloomberg News in Germany. “I started with fused glass in Germany, so my work has a little bit different spin than some other people in the States. When we moved back to Phoenix (in 2016), I started taking lessons there.”
“I love the colors, the creativity, and working with my hands,” she continued. “I was a journalist for many decades, (but) I don’t do any writing anymore. I’ve been there, done that. This is a completely different direction, and that’s what I wanted — something that’s more creative, more hands-on.”
Carter moved to Washougal from Arizona in March 2023, and, two months later, attended the Washougal Studio Artists Tour, where she met Dinius, who later encouraged the newcomer to submit an application for the Washougal Studio Artists Tour Holiday Market.
“The art community here is vibrant,” Carter said. “Everybody is so friendly. I’m kind of blown away by the artwork, the friendliness, the beautiful countryside. I just love it here.”
Carter sees herself as more of an innovator, “someone who takes an idea and makes it better,” rather than a creator or “someone who comes up with their own idea.”
“Glass (art) has been made. The Romans had it. The Greeks had it. It’s not a new thing,” Carter said. “But I like to take something that I’ve learned or seen and make it my own, change it around, add different colors, change the design. Sometimes I will see a picture and I’ll think, ‘Oh, I could do that or something like it with glass.’ Other times, I see something on the internet, and I think, ‘I could tweak that and make it something that I would like.’ It’s just like with any artist — things just kind of come to you from various locations.”
To view Carter’s work, visit phylliscarterart.com.
For more information about this weekend’s Holiday Market studio art tour, including artist details and contact information, and a map to the participating art studio locations, visit the event website at washougalstudioartists.org.