Artist Spotlight: Laura Simone
Laura is one of the newest instructors and renters at Third Degree! In Laura’s short time here, she has made a lasting impression on students, staff and renters alike. Her bubbly personality and almost obsessive desire to learn has made her a valued addition to the Third Degree team. We sat down with her to get to know her a little better.
First, a little background:
Laura holds a BFA in Oil Painting & Stained Glass from Washburn University. While she originally moved to St. Louis five months ago to pursue her Master’s degree, she quickly found herself in the studios at Third Degree, captivated by the glass. Similarly, our Education Director Tunde was captivated by Laura’s energy, qualifications and willingness to immerse herself in the community, which is how she landed a job teaching almost immediately. Laura also owns and operates her own art business, Ebb & Flow Arts.
Laura currently teaches Flameworking classes, but can also be seen providing tours, assisting with or narrating glassblowing demonstrations, and much more.
In what media have you worked?
“I started out exclusively in paint, oils to start, but I happened into a local blown glass studio (AlBo Glass of Topeka KS) and found myself with a job. The learning of one glass sent me into others and in short order I was working in blown glass, stained glass and fused glass. When I was shipped off to train in blown glass at The Glass Forge in Grants Pass, OR, my instructor’s wife taught me the basics of stained glass. Returning to Topeka, I juggled my college art courses (painting, drawing, printmaking, woodworking, photography and ceramics) with my art jobs, one working at the local blown glass studio and one as an apprentice at a local Stained Glass Studio, Creations Unique. At Creations Unique I was introduced to fused glass and began making jewelry and attending art shows on the weekends to sell my creations. In recent years I have also added more painted mediums and resin casting to my repertoire, as well as extending my knowledge of lampworking thanks to Third Degree.”
What is it about glass that you love?
“Blown, Fused, Lamp worked or Stained, Glass as a medium has always been thrilling to me. I love how many ways a single medium can be manipulated and how vastly different the resulting works can be. No other medium is as versatile. This eclectic collection of glass training lets me help out at Third Degree in any of the studios, and with every new artist I work alongside, I find new ways of looking at an old medium.
“I adore the absolute joy of following tiny epiphanies and breakthroughs when I finally start to perfect a technique I’ve been struggling with. I will attempt to cling to my child-like sense of wonder until the day I expire.”
What do you enjoy most about teaching at Third Degree?
I love watching the student who claims they have “no artistic ability” get lost in the act of creating a work of art. Sometimes those who have no artistic background or training come up with the most fantastic end results. The perseverance they show in learning each technique on the torch and building on them to the point where they are creating beads they are proud of is wonderful to witness.
What do you do when you’re not in the studios?
When I’m not experimenting on the torch or assisting in the hotshop at Third Degree, I’m usually at home working on art, reading a good book or watching all sorts of odd and elective TV shows and movies with my husband. Occasionally I find myself with a free weekend and road-trip back to Topeka KS to visit friends and family.
What’s next for you?
You can come see (and buy) a selection of Laura’s work in our gallery! You might even see her working in the flame studio. Come by, check out her work and welcome Laura to St. Louis!
We’re open 10:00a – 5:00p, Monday- Saturday!
View more videos of Laura working on our Instagram!