THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
Local artist Jennifer Baker is tapped to create this year’s Winter Carnival Poster.
An artist’s canvas can vary wildly, depending on the medium, technique and whim of its creator. For Steamboat-based artist Jennifer Baker, the medium and the canvas are one in the same – glass. While most people think of glasswork as sculptural, for Baker, it’s another layer of color, dimension, texture, or light. Inspired by the natural beauty she is surrounded by every day in the Yampa Valley, Baker’s works are suggestive of impressionism, but because of her unusual technique and application, they verge on something more modern. She does everything from landscapes to abstracts and her work comes in various forms including panels, wall mounted work, tabletop pieces and sculpture. We caught up with Baker to reflect on how she arrived as an artist, a Steamboat local, and now as the creator of an iconic piece of Steamboat history.
You’ve been chosen to create the 2020 Winter Carnival poster. Tell us about that.
I’m absolutely thrilled and it’s such a big honor to be part of such a significant tradition and to have the opportunity to create this iconic poster. I’ve actually made prints of some of my work before and it works really well. However, I mostly do landscapes and not people, so that will be an interesting one for sure. Still, I have a few ideas brewing and am so excited to start experimenting and trying things out. After all, I enjoy a challange.
How did you end up living in Steamboat?
My husband was presented with a great job opportunity that landed us here 11 years ago. We were living in Ohio, looking for something different and needed a change that would better suit our lifestyle. We were expecting our daughter and wanted to live in a smaller mountain town and started looking at options in the Rockies and Pacific Northwest. My husband found a great opportunity here and the rest is history. Now we’re raising our daughter here.
What’s your art background? How did you discover glass as your medium?
I have always had the desire to create and dabbled in many different mediums, but it was always more of something I did on the side, outside of work. I kept at it, and was eventually able to make a career out of my art. I have always been an artist. I have always felt that need to create. It’s not something I decided to do, it’s always been within me. Once I discovered glass, something just clicked, and I never looked back. I’m largely self-taught and have had to figure things out myself through trial and error, and of course, a lot of frustration, which I believe lead me to create in my own unique style. Working with glass is more of a commitment than other mediums. It’s a little harder to go in and modify or change something once the glass has been fired. Still, I always feel like there is something new to learn and room to keep growing. If it doesn’t work, then I turn it into something else.
What is your process?
I start with a piece of glass and use it like a canvas. I’ll manipulate the glass to represent major shapes. From there I build layers to create textures and inferences that scatter light or blend colors. I’ll fire a single piece in the glass kiln a couple of times. I might start with an outline or sketch, but it usually ends up becoming something else entirely, and I just go with it. I love that the process can be unpredictable, but it’s also somewhat scientific. I’m often asked to explain the process but it’s actually kind of difficult because I use multiple processes in my work and often multiple processes in one piece.
What inspires you?
Moving from Ohio to Colorado has forced me to slow down and really appreciate the natural environment. I’m always so inspired by the beauty here. It inspires and informs most of my work.
The 2020 Winter Carnival Poster one-of-a-kind original art work, created by Jennifer Baker, will be sold at live auction at the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival winter gala. A limited number of framed, numbered and signed giclee prints will be available for purchase as well. Please contact email@example.com for more information.
VISIT JENNIFER BAKER’S WEBSITE for more information and a gallery of her work.
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