Jenny Reich started experimenting with stained glass in the 1970s in Atlanta as a creative outlet. Today, you can find her with her dogs Lola and Salem in northern Whatcom County amid her colorful glass creations of all kinds. Just off Interstate 5 in the small town of Custer, she opened Whimsy Art Glass Studio seven years ago, where she now has her studio, a retail shop, and teaches classes.
Her pieces in the store include small plates, dishes, and chests, large decorative hanging pieces, and decorative lamps and tables.
For years, Reich perfected the techniques of stained glass as way of artistic relaxation. “I’ve always had a bench or small work space since I began,” she said. While radio was her “real” job, glass filled an important and growing artistic space in her life.
Soon she moved to California and then Washington. She retired from radio and made glass art her full-time passion. However, the move introduced her to an entirely new glass technique, fused glass. Rather than using lead to hold pieces of glass together, fused glass uses the heat of a kiln to fuse two or more pieces of glass together. For Reich, the appeal of fused glass was the ability to highlight delicate glass cuts and pieces, which would be otherwise hidden by lead in stained glass. “I’ve always been good at cutting and when I found out about the kiln, I thought ‘This is it, this is for me,’” she said. The fused glass method requires precise control of the kiln to bring pieces of glass together without shrinking or muddling them.
Reich’s projects can take from as little as a half-hour to as long as a few days to complete, depending on the kiln and the size and detail of the project. Each project starts with a few pieces of glass from Bullseye Glass Co. in Portland. Reich’s shop is lined with hundreds of sheet-like pieces of glass. “I like to pick each piece out myself. They all have their own personalities,” she said.
While Reich is open to working on customized projects for clients, her creativity comes rst. If the project is something that excites her, she is glad to say yes. If not, she is comfortable saying no. Her favorite pieces are those that she has created under the full moon. She specializes in a full-moon motif created by the interaction of heated glass with silver-leaf inlay. The result are unique pieces, each with its own moonlit, cloudy-night image. Another unique group of pieces hang from the ceiling of her store and may go unnoticed. A white t-shirt, a bra, and a pair of socks, all created with glass, hang from their clothes line in a corner of her shop. “When I went to Europe, I noticed that they still hang their laundry. So I came home and had to create my own too,” she said.
Price ranges vary due to the huge variety of items. Pieces start at about $15 for her whimsical night lights and go up. “I can usually and something for most everyone if they want to experience glass,” she said. Customers can and her art on her website, on Facebook, and in the shop. For those looking to learn the trade rather than just purchase, Reich teaches classes on a case-by-case basis to glass artists of all skill levels.
2911 Main St., Custer
360.510.3256 | whimsyglass.campcuster.com