At first glance, the work of Evelyn Gottschall Baker could have been unearthed in an archeological dig outside of Buena Vista, Colorado, where the artist lives and works from her studio, Glass Fractions. But a closer look will reveal these perfectly colored and shaped skeletal remains are actually pâte de verreglass castings. Using her unique mold-free process, Gottschall Baker is putting her work on the map at events such as Bullseye Glass Co.’s 2018 Emerge/Evolve competition and exhibition.
On view now at the Belleview Art Museum, Belleview, Washington, Gottschall Baker’s series of animal bone replicas garnered her an Honorable Mention in Emerge/ Evolve 2018. The artist spent over a year developing her own technique for sculpting glass paste into forms that can be fired without a mold. Her experience and discipline as a test engineer proved invaluable in the methodical, detailed testing required to create the complex firing schedules for this kilnworking method, which must account for shrinkage, varying thicknesses, and the way in which heat affects individual components.
Beginning her career as a graphic artist and illustrator, Gottschall Baker eventually became an advertising manager and senior illustrator for the Department of the Army, for whom she created highly detailed, exacting paintings and drawings. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree, she became a test engineer for a large U.S. defense contractor. During this time, Gottschall Baker studied watercolor and oil painting, and took classes in stained glass, which allowed her to pursue a part-time career as a stained glass artist.
Gottschall Baker enrolled in her first fused glass class in 2011, primarily to create components to incorporate into stained glass pieces. But her interest in fused glass grew into a passion, which was eagerly pursued through a number of classes, many of which were offered by D&L Art Glass in Denver.
“Living in Colorado,” says Gottschall Baker, “I find it natural to try to capture the beauty of our local landscape into works of art using glass. My initial desire to simplify my style was well suited for stained glass, but as soon as I discovered glass fusing, I began re-introducing detail and realism into my art. During the several past years, I have embraced this realistic style, and have begun to use both traditional and non-traditional casting and mold techniques to create sculptures that depict the beauty around me.”
In 2018, Gottschall Baker began teaching her techniques in workshops in various studios throughout the US, Canada, and Scotland. She’ll be teaching at Bullseye in Portland at the end of March 2020 and at Bullseye in Santa Fe in November 2020.