Once Loretta Eby got started in art school, she quickly realized she wanted to be a glassblower instead of an illustrator. Now, after creating glass art for 27 years, Loretta knows she wants to make glass for the rest of her life. For the first few years after getting her BFA in Glass from the Cleveland Institute of Art (1981), Loretta didn't have her own studio. She went on to continue her education at the Penland School of Crafts, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and the Pilchuk School of Glass. She also managed a gallery or two. In 1987,

Loretta and sculptor/husband/partner Jeff Jackson picked a place that used to be a chicken house in rural Georgia as their studio. The chicken house was part of a farm full of artists known as Happy Valley Pottery. At first, Jeff and Loretta rented only the front half of the building that had, at one time and another, housed four other artists -- potters, a blacksmith, another glassblower and even a pewter smith. (Loretta describes the floor plan as "kind of like a rabbit warren.") Soon after Loretta and Jeff started to work on their new studio, Loretta was in a serious car accident that resulted in facial reconstruction and her inability to blow glass for almost a year and a half. During that time, though, Jeff and Loretta partnered on (non blown) glass and steel sculpture designs. These creations proved popular and the line continues today. As their popularity grew, Jeff and Loretta annexed more and more of the old chicken house, until they took over the entire building.

In Their Own Words: "My idea of a good time is finding a new junk yard or farm equipment salvage lot. It's way more fun than mall shopping.", In Jeff's view, "The hardness of the steel in contrast to the apparent softness of the glass can offer interesting new ways of seeing common objects." Making art often involves learning a new vocabulary or language relating to the materials as well as puzzle/problem solving in both aesthetic and technical areas. While they often have differing ideas or approaches to a given concept, Loretta and Jeff enjoy the process of working together to create the finished works. Sometimes the process even works!

 

 

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