Tag Archives: stained glass

Festival Focus: Meet Jen Black

29 Apr


Connected by bridges yet somehow quite wonderfully disconnected sits Conanicut Island and the town of Jamestown, Rhode Island. Perfectly pastoral and coastal at the same time, Jamestown manages to miss the throngs of summer traffic some of it’s neighbors contend with and so remains a peaceful community of folks dedicated to their myriad crafts. Jennifer Weeden-Black is one such islander. Anchored in her family’s rich history here, the artist has grown Islandesign for over ten years bringing the strong simplicity of the island to life in her bold, original stained glass canvases. Browsing her pieces feels like flipping through an old photo album of our beloved, local landscapes and seascapes we here at Festival Fete covet. We can’t wait to see what she brings to Newport.

Festival Fete: What were you up to this past winter?

Jen Black: Farming is a perpetual part of my life and inspiration. Though I don’t live on a farm, I worked at Simmons Farm in Middletown, RI to fill the need.

FF: What has inspired your most recent work?

JB: My latest projects have been a series of goats as panels of glass or paintings, inspired by the goats on the farm. Islandesign and stained glass as an art form to me is a large part of an ideal lifestyle.

“My family and I live a pretty simple life in Jamestown.

Family, art, and a love of farming inspire me every day.”

FF: Tell us about your process.

JB: My mother Donna is my partner in a lot of the stained glass preparation process. What people may not realize is how very time consuming the whole task is. Each piece, no matter how large or small, has at least a 13-step process. From picking out the perfect colors to polishing the finished product, it is a lot of work. I design my own templates and never copy from books. Stained Glass is a medium that you really have to love the whole process of.  Most people who take classes, don’t continue. They don’t realize how much time is put into each piece until they make their own.


Local goats as recent inspiration: From painting to stained glass.

FF: Does any piece stand out as your favorite? 

JB: My favorite pieces are often the most challenging.  My mother and I made a very large Beavertail Lighthouse panel as a commission last year. It was a tedious process because it had to fit in a very specific space exactly.


Clockwise: Conanicut Island, The Pell Bridge, Beavertail Lighthouse

FF: Which are you most proud of?

JB:  I am most proud of a piece we made for a couple in Connecticut. It was a large Poppy Garden. It was very time consuming, but satisfying to see it hung in it’s space. The look on the customer’s face said it all.


Sea glass “Web,” repurposes sea glass from local shores.

FF: Where do you source your glass?

JB:  The glass that I use for the work mostly comes from a supplier in Old Saybrook, CT. It’s always a pleasant trip to go and visit with Vinny and Carol. I also love to repurpose glass like old bottles or sea glass from our beautiful beaches here.

And beautiful they certainly are, as interpreted by Jen. You’ll find the artist in person at our first show in Newport on June 28th and 29th. Browse her pieces at her online shop on Etsy and like Islandesign on Facebook.

Thanks for reading our latest in artist interviews on the road to Newport. Stay tuned!



Your East Greenwich Art Festival Artists!

24 Aug

Liv & Lov by Dora Szekely designs     StudioDDB Stained Glass Art

Dora Szekely of Liv & Lov creates pieces of wearable art jewelry, designing each piece completely by hand! As a Global Studies major in college focusing on Fair Trade and having worked with FT organizations, Dora makes great efforts to use only recycled silver. She switched to recycled with the dream of one day being a part of creating a Fair Trade Silver, something with transparency for artisans that can’t afford to own a mine.

Dora even had the opportunity to visit mines in southern Africa and learn how it has developed the country and affects the people, further strengthening her resolve. She has also interned and worked as a researcher for the No Dirty Gold campaign and hopes to work on Fair Trade gold in Colombia before going to Peru to research silver mining. The profits she makes from her jewelry not only go back into her art but towards these goals!

The manner in which I create is inspired by people and the earth, the designs are inspired by nature, geometric forms, and connections. The way opposing geometric forms connect and the connections everything living has to each other, unknown, random, and destined.


Follow your dreams

Liv life to the fullest


Be compassionate

Love you, others and the Earth

& You will not only find happiness

But will change the World!

Check out Liv & Lov by Dora Szekely designs and come out to the East Greenwich Art Festival on September 1st and 2nd at the New England Tech campus to see Dora’s beautiful artwork in person!

For Donna, her work in stained glass comes from her fascination with the play of light and shadow – a constant change of the piece of art at different times during the day (and during the four seasons) as the light changes the appearance of the image

Donna is inspired by the beauty of cathedral windows and greatly appreciates the amount of time and hard work that goes into creating such works of art. Donna works mainly in the Tiffany copper
foil technique and believes Tiffany’s works are breathtaking

While Donna has worked in illustration, painting, photography and more, she enjoys the challenges of cutting and soldering glass to create a piece of art. While she is able to produce a traditional stained glass piece, She finds that it’s always more fun to create something with a bit of whimsey

Visit Donna of StudioDDB Stained Glass Art online today and make sure to come out to the East Greenwich Art Festival to see works by Donna, Dora and all of your favorite local artists along with live entertainment, local eats, free kids activities and more!

And just around the corner…

Photographs from a Veterinarian

29 Jul

Patricia Burke is a veterinarian with an appreciation of the arts including a lifelong interest and love of photography.   She volunteers at the RISPCA, where a woman recently asked about the birds.  Her response was “That all creatures great and small a bit – is a lie.”

Although Patricia has lived in R.I. now for over 20 years, she considers herself a native of New Mexico, where she grew up in Los Alamos, and suburban Washington, D.C., which people from that area will attest, might as well be a state. Between education at  four universities, and jobs,  Patricia has lived  in  New Mexico  (enchanting), Colorado  (pretty), Arizona (dramatic)  Nevada (hot), Minnesota (cold cold with 2 months of sauna  summer), Indiana  (Boilermaker),  Georgia (Go Dawgs!), Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia.   

Living in Providence though, has allowed her to take regular and adult classes in art history, photography and computer science, at schools such as RISD, Brown and CCRI. She felt at a disadvantage at RISD, imagining herself a left brain, a dog paddling in a pool of champion swimmer right brains. One totally selfish benefit of Photoshop classes at RISD—touching up of family photographs- especially –of herself.  Almost every family photo during childhood was taken by Patricia, starting at age 5, with a Brownie.  After her mother died, her father was going “our” (Patricia’s) pictures in the family photo drawer, and he said “Why are there so few of your mother? She responded “Mother tore them up if she didn’t like how she looked”. Now flash forward 20 years, he asks why there were so few pictures of Patricia in all of the family get-togethers.  “I delete most of them, or crop myself out. I am my mother’s daughter, in the digital age”. 

Over the last few years Patricia has been devoting more time to photography. She has long loved taking photographs of stained glass- the majority of which is found in Catholic and Episcopal churches.   After her aunt who was a Sister of St. Joseph died, Patricia started a project concentrating on depictions of St. Joseph, which quickly morphed into searching out and photographing animals depicted in stained glass.  She considers herself   “culturallyIrish catholic, even though she is more English and barely agnostic.  But she feels that one does not need to be religious to appreciate the beauty of the architecture, sculpture and art of many churches.   (Unfortunately the older, larger and most lovely, are the most threatened). 

The “lives of the  saints”  – be they historically accurate or legends,  like Greek and Roman mythology, and the associated  iconography and symbolism are fascinating and adds layers of meaning these works of art , which are attached to her creations . In researching the symbolic and historical use of animals in art, her veterinary medical background provides additional insights. Notations of domestic dogs are rare in church art; a notable exception is St. Rocco. (That name always sounded weird to her – because Rocco sounds like a nick–name (St. Liz vs. St. Elizabeth). And it sounds like tough guy at that; he could be Tony Soprano’s favorite saint). 

Always portrayed with a dog and a wound on his leg, St. Rock, Roch, Roche, or Rocco is not a historical saint. The story attached to him is of a French aesthetic, born in France, who traveled to Italy where he cared for plague victims. When  he himself contracted the disease,  he was either driven, or withdrew to the forest , where he would have died had it not been for  a rich man’s dog  who  sustained  him with bread stolen from his master’s table, and licked his wounds, helping to heal them. This oft –quoted   ‘old wives’ tale’ – that dogs licking their wounds heals them faster, has more than a grain of truth.

There is ongoing research in the separation and identification of chemicals in dog – and human– saliva which promote healings. Wound liking has the obvious benefits of removing superficial dirt and keeping an area moist, but it also can introduce an army of bacteria. As to why a species which considers cat stool to be a hors d’oeuvres, licks theirs and other’s wounds, you can use the same old punch line of “Because they can.”

Patricia also photographs landscapes, buildings, flora and fauna…the least cooperative of which, are her pets and patients. 

In addition to individual frameable photographs, she has created a series of greeting cards, some of which address large, but underserved groups- like step-children.   Patricia acquired her beloved step-mother -slash- BFF, at age 19.   The search for an appropriate mother’s day card was ….prolonged and frustrating since 99% included “Mother”, “mommy”, or a reference to: “when I was little.” One day, a cousin on the protestant side, announced she was converting to Catholicism.   Patricia whined “it’s not bad enough I have to search high and low for appropriate mother’s day cards, now I have found a “congratulations on making your first communion –for a 42 year old?”  

She is looking forward to her first Festival Fete art festival!

Check out her website http://onthesixthday.photoshelter.com/

Come out to our next festival, The City Art Festival on August 6, 2011, and support Patricia Burke!! :]

Check out The City Art Festival video to see the fabulous artists and vendors who will be at the show! :]

The City Art Festival is proud to be sponsered by Webster Bank along with City of Providnce, Cardi’s Furniture, RI MonthlyWhole FoodsNatural Awakenings, Yelp and Cat Country-WCTK.