Glass artist Sue Regis is committed to creating pieces as unique as those who purchase them. Largely self-taught, Regis uses a table mounted torch with specific oxygen and propane mixtures and Pyrex clear and colored rods finished with Pyrex frit. Perhaps her most significant pieces are those she creates to memorialize deceased loved ones. Regis spoke briefly with Our Town about her art.
Our Town What drew you to glass art?
Sue Regis Right out of high school, I took a jewelry and metal smithing class at Joliet Junior College, [but] I'm basically all self-taught, but every day offers opportunities to learn something new.
OT What inspired you to create glasswork to memorialize the deceased?
SR After successfully incorporating pet cremains into glass pieces, I was given the opportunity to learn more about doing the same thing with human cremains. A local funeral home encouraged this new aspect of my art and my business.
OT How do you work with family members to create these pieces?
SR Family members contact me, and meet with me in person (if possible) to talk about their loved one, and what they want made.
OT Describe your involvement with Joliet Area Community Hospice "Lights of Love".
SR In 2011, JACH contacted me about making ornaments for Lights of Love. This annual holiday event happens in conjunction with Festival of Trees, and is a tribute to loved ones that have been lost that year. People that purchase ornaments receive tickets to the event. Last year's event required 1000 ornaments.
OT How has your work changed over the years?
SR I hope it's gotten better! I do more production work with big projects like Lights of Love, and I do a good amount of custom work. At the beginning, I did pretty much whatever I wanted, so that's been a big change.
OT What piece are you proudest of?
SR I had a student that passed away, and I did pieces for her mom. Working with the cremains of a friend was emotional, but it provided closure. One came together color and design-wise in a way that could never be duplicated, and is very "her." The last piece is a piece that she made that cracked in half. Rather than just repairing it, I put the two pieces back together with her cremains in the middle piece.
Check out Sue Regis' glass art here.
A writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum freelances for sites like Pop Matters and
afterellen.com Her debut novel, “Herself When She’s Missing," was called “poetic and heartrending” by ALA Booklist. Sarah is also a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago’s StoryStudio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She's kind of looking forward to it actually.
IMPORTANT: the official Our Town site doesn't support comments. Join in the conversation by following facebook.com/OurTownBlog.ChicagoSunTimes and Sarah on Twitter: @SarahTerez and Facebook.