Friday, September 13, 2013

Our Glass Obsession: New Works by Isabel Mathieson and Fred Reinhardt. October 5th through December 5th 2013


“Our Glass Obsession” :
New Works by Isabel Mathieson and Fred Reinhardt.

Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery

PO Box 233/ 503 Main St

Jerome AZ 86331


Publicity Chairperson: Ellen Jo Roberts



For Immediate Release:

“Our Glass Obsession” : New Works by Isabel Mathieson and Fred Reinhardt. Opens at the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery on October 5th

“Glass has always intrigued me. I have always loved glass and collected glass,” said Isabel “Chacha” Mathieson, in trying to explain her obsession with this amazing material. Even when cooled to a solid form it manages to retain its liquid appearance, a swirl of colors and clarity. Chacha and fellow glass artist Fred Reinhardt will share their mutual fascination by showcasing new works in “Our Glass Obsession”, a featured show at the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery opening Saturday, October 5th.
Both long-time members of the co-op, Mathieson and Reinhardt have very different styles when it comes to glass, yet both share a brilliant color sense and passion for pattern and texture.

Isabel Mathieson, known by many as Chacha, is a third generation Arizonan, born in Jerome’s United Verde Hospital, now known as the Jerome Grand Hotel. Jerome plays an important part in Chacha’s family history. Her grandparents were both originally from Jalisco, Mexico, and met and married in El Paso, Texas. They moved to Jerome when Arizona was only a territory, settling on Main Street in 1910 where they lived with their children, one of which was Chacha’s mother. Chacha’s parents met in Jerome, married in 1940 and their family grew there for a time, prior to moving to San Manuel in Pinal County northeast of Tucson. After World War II, plexi-glass became plentiful and Chacha’s father, Frank Gallego began experimenting with it. He started out making lamps with shades and matching picture frames, carving roses and cactus into the plexi-glass. When orders were plentiful he created his art studio, Gallego Carvings, specializing in jewelry. “I remember watching him as he carved roses and cactus for pendants and earrings,” Chacha recalls, inspired by his talents, “As we were able to handle it, my dad taught us to use the grinder, buffer, and drills, and attach findings on the earrings and pendants. My dad and mother were always teaching and encouraging us to develop our own artistic talents.”
By the time Chacha was in high school, she acquired her father’s skill for plexi-glass carving. She continued to live in the surrounding area of San Manuel, carving out a career in city and county government while also managing to raise a family. During her 41-year career, Chacha took evening classes, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Office Management. Three years prior to retiring, she decided to learn about stained glass, “a lifelong desire.” One instructor introduced her to fused glass, also referred to as kiln-formed glass, and she fell in love with it.
Her fused glass is an assemblage based on a design or pattern,“ I draw out my patterns and select glass colors. Either way, I hand cut each piece of glass and sometimes I use machinery for curves and intricate cuts.  Then I grind, clean the pieces and assemble them like a puzzle.” The assembled piece is put in the kiln to fuse, a process which takes 15 to 18 hours to complete, depending on the size and thickness of the piece..  A second process called the slump phase shapes the piece, “After the full fuse, in order to shape the glass into a pre-selected plate or bowl I use a mold for the slumping phase. ”
 Upon retirement, with her children grown, Chacha returned to her roots in the Verde Valley, and furthered her education in the art via additional glass classes.
Chacha states, “I love Jerome and the Verde Valley— it brings back so many happy memories of my family and childhood days. With the love of glass art, my wish is that my creations will bring as much joy to all those who use them as they do for me in creating them.”  

Nebraska-native Fred Reinhardt has been involved with photography, printing and graphic arts since he was honorably discharged from the US Navy in 1969. He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Omaha’s Creighton University in 1972. The Reinhardts moved to Cottonwood, Arizona in 1981 and soon after purchased a small print shop and started the local ads and TV-listings publication, The Ad King. Fred retired from his newspaper business in 2007, allowing him more time to devote to his glass art.

“My glass obsession started in the late fall of 1996 when the owner of the local stained glass shops persuaded me to take a stained glass class, explained Mr. Reinhardt.The six week course covered the basics: glass selection, grinding, foiling, soldering and finishing. Fred enjoyed the results of those early lessons and continued to develop his skills with more complex designs. “The more complicated the piece the more imagination, and the more imagination the more time you take to select your glass. At a certain time you realize that the local stained glass shops have a limited supply, so you venture out to the big city to see a larger selection of glass colors and textures. That is the time you develop an obsession with glass…You can never have enough glass.”

Though he has no formal training in fine art, his innate knack for graphics, color and composition are evident in the bold style of his stained glass. His glasswork often depicts sunny desert landscapes, starry nights and other easily recognizable nature scenes, though Reinhardt also showcases fine mastery of abstract designs as well. He exhibits a keen sense of whimsy with many of his pieces, including his popular snowflake and star pieces. A fan favorite? His small terra-cotta pot-bound cactus plants.
“Glass isn’t just for windows!” he exclaims cheerfully. Using traditional stained-glass methods, Fred’s work is a blend of both classic and modern. “The stained glass medium not only deals in colors but also in texture, both of which can lend a dimensional effect to a piece, as well as one that will change with the intensity of the light throughout the day.”
“Our Glass Obsession” opens Saturday, October 5th, 2013, 5:30pm-8:30pm in conjunction with Jerome’s popular first Saturday ARTwalk event. The Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery is located at 502 Main, in the former Hotel Jerome. Gallery hours are 10am-6pm daily. The show runs through December 5th.
For more information visit or call 928-639-4276