From stockbroker to artist

3:29 PM, Jun 11, 2013   |    comments
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Now she is an artist but Paula Marksbury started out as a stockbroker.

"One day I said wrong side of the brain working so I went to Vermont and started working with two master glass blowers," Paula Marksbury said.

For the past 13 years she's focused on a specific type of glass art called kiln formed fused glass. As part of the process she bakes it in a giant kiln at her studio in McMinn County outside Athens.

"It's very important to try to get the colors right, the design right, but the the real secret to it is that temperature I was talking about because too much makes it all melt together and not enough doesn't make it come together," she said.

She starts with clear glass or black glass as the base then she hand cuts pieces and grinds them to precise shapes and polishes them.

"I fire it. The first time is the base layer and it takes about 26 hours. The second firing I usually do is called a tack fire and it attaches the glass completely but it doesn't melt it down completely flat," she explained.

The third firing is the shape. It requires the least heat but takes 24 hours or so.

"In between, you'll see my grinder and I have to polish and I do hand sanding and so there's a lot there a lot that goes in between each time they go into the kiln," she said.

The finished product has depth and texture and pieces of glass actually stick out from the base.

Paula Marksbury makes larger pieces with the help of stainless steel forms and a fabricator to bend the art. That lets her make glass like a wavy piano.

Her art starts at $250 and goes up to about $6,500 for the larger pieces.

"It seems like I always sell my favorite piece. I'll take something and I'll really enjoy it," she said.

Herkiln formed glass attracts people who like vivid color with a modern flair. That's something she enjoys more than life as a stockbroker.

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