In this series, the artists working at Creative Gateways give us a behind-the-scenes insight into their current works in progress, inspiration and creative challenges. Today, we look at a fairly large commission project by Pilisa and the AMusinGlass studio…
The AMusinGlass studio has produced an impressive amount of work – from pendants and incense holders, to personal projects, to commissioned pieces. Very soon, however, people will be able to see a particularly large commission project that’s been nearly a year in the making.
Around April of 2017, Creative Gateways and AMusinGlass founder Pilisa Rainbow Lady was approached by her friend Brian Alcorn. The two knew each other as members of WEVO Global, a social networking group supporting a responsible business culture, that frequently meets in Sedona. Brian was (and still is) the owner of Paleo Brio a Healthy Kitchen Restaurant that is considered a Sedona staple, and Pilisa had previously done some work for him. “The signs on his restroom doors were originally chalk boards,” Pilisa explains. “But he got tired of the words constantly getting rubbed off by people leaning on the signs, so he commissioned me to make glass signs – like the ones we use at Creative Gateways.” In April, however, Brian had something much bigger in mind. He was planning on opening a second Paleo Brio location in Flagstaff, Arizona, and wanted Pilisa and the AMusinGlass studio to create fused glass pieces for nearly all the lights the new restaurant would use. Pilisa happily accepted.
Bringing light to the cave
Pilisa was told she and her studio had roughly five months to complete the sconces, as September 2017 was the target month for the grand opening. “At the time we had settled on roughly thirteen sconces, and some covers for the pendant lights above the bar, but knew it may have ended up being slightly more or less.” Brian was so determined to incorporate the glass works that he had the architect specifically build them into the design.
“During those five months, the overwhelming majority of our focus in the studio was on getting those sconces done.” The process that was decided on was a uniquely collaborative effort. Each of the three glass artists made themed sheets, which would then be shuffled, mixed, and matched to create full pieces. “Sometimes we would even cut up two sheets and merge the pieces into one collaborative sheet, which would then be placed above or below other sheets.” Pilisa and the other glass studio artists, Terry and Marika Israelson, tried to create sconces around the “Paleo” theme of the restaurant, most easily seen in pieces like “Cave of the Hands,” “Red Dog,” and “3800 B.C.” The end results of this novel idea are interesting and beautiful works that still retain an almost perfect sense of coherency. “Ultimately, the credited artist for each light sconce was whoever did the sheet that ended up on top. But it was truly a collaborative effort.”
The waiting game
With hard work, all of the light sconces were finished by the end of September. However, various setbacks for Brian and the new restaurant meant postponing the grand opening by a significant amount of time. For Pilisa, this provided another opportunity. “We had all of these sconces done, and we didn’t want to just sit on them. So we put them up in the [Creative Gateways] gallery. If any of them sold, we knew we had plenty of time to make a new one.” And, we did end up selling one of them and replacing it.
The sconces did grace the gallery until just recently, when Brian informed Pilisa the restaurant was close to completion. Thirteen sconces were taken to the new location, with eleven being installed and two being kept as spares in case one sold. The covers for the pendant lights will soon be installed as well. “It took a while,” says Pilisa, “but I’m very happy with how it all turned out.”
The Paleo Brio in Flagstaff will have its grand opening in the next few weeks, and customers will be able to view all the wonderful light sconces for themselves – all of which are for sale. You can also see more of Pilisa’s fused glass work, as well as the work of all our resident artists, by visiting the Creative Gateways gallery, open 7 days a week, 10am-5pm!