ARTIST OF THE MONTH -
Reflections on Dorina Krüsemer
- A Stained-Glass Artist
by Annabelle Numaguchi
Krüsemers personality mirrors her multi-colored stained
glass creations. Like her work, aptly entitled Glass Expressions;
she is vibrant, elegant and imaginative in a very alluring manner.
Dorina has resided and worked as an artist in Moab since 1991. When
I asked Dorina, a world-traveler and native of Hamburg, Germany,
how she chose to settle here, she responded that while vacationing
in Australia, she met a Moabite, who sparked her interest in visiting
the red rocks of southern Utah. After traveling throughout the West
of the U.S., she decided to return to Moab and pioneer the art of
stained glass here.
to moving to America, Dorina spent ten years as a co-owner of a
stained glass studio in Hamburg, where she designed custom-made
pieces for hotels, dancing palaces and bars. Her partner, and mentor,
Robert W. L. Butt, an English artist trained at Oxford, motivated
Dorina to learn the craft of stained glass while she was earning
her degree in Pharmacy. Once she graduated, she spent a year as
a pharmacist before dedicating herself to stained glass, working
in the studio and co-authoring and designing three bilingual pattern
books, sold in the U.S. and Germany.
Relocating to Moab provided Dorina an opportunity to shift her focus from
large stained glass commissions to creating smaller pieces of art, including
her now extensive line of jewelry. She says that she never got to
do the small stuff, until she set up her own studio, a cozy, well-organized
place in the back of her pastoral home. Dorina began using stained glass
to make her line of jewelry, named Moonlight Creations, in
honor of the time of night when creativity and productivity strike most
often. She soon veered into working with gem stones and fused layers of
glass, which result in elegant earrings, resplendent necklaces and luminous
hair barrettes, all touched with a wisp of fantasy.
the non-symmetrical, wavy lines characteristic of the turn-of-the-century
Art Nouveau movement, Dorina solders copper and silver wire over
her pieces, creating a free-flowing form through her work, which
has become her trademark. The trust she has in her artistic instincts
is again exhibited in her approach to her craft. She begins welding
the wire onto the gem or glass, and then lets it go the way
it goes, which accounts for the very natural movement one
sees in her art.
Now that she has had a chance to pursue her interest in creating smaller
works, such as the copper dragonfly delicately resting on the crescent
glass moon that hangs from the window of her studio, filtering glittering
sky-blue light, Dorina is focusing again on larger works and interior
design. Her clientele includes writer Robert Fulghum, The Ranch House
Restaurant, and The Sorrel River Ranch. Her clients realize that stained
glass gives a unique, vibrant flare to decor, and can be used to soften
the glare of lamps and lanterns. Also, including a stained glass window
or door panel is a wonderful way of interweaving an original work of art
into the very fabric of ones home.
particularly differentiates a professional stained glass artists
craft from commercially produced pieces is originality and workmanship.
Dorina has mastered both the traditional lead method of stained
glass making and the more modern copperfoil method. The old church
windows that most of us associate with stained glass were created
using the former method of fitting the glass fragments into the
grooves of the U or H shaped lead rims, and then soldering only
the corners of shape. Dorina still uses this method, although she
prefers the method invented by L. C. Tiffany, in which adhesive
copper foil is soldered along the entire rim of the glass fragments.
This latter method allows for more intricacy in the patterns.
So, whats the difference between a hand-crafted lamp versus
a factory-produced one? Dorina humorously likens buying
a mass-produced piece to the difference between a gourmet
restaurant and cheap fast-food. Technology has facilitated
the art of glass cutting, but it cannot capture the combined creative
power of the brain, the body and years of training in the art of
stained glass. Anyone can operate a powered glass cutter, but often
the completed piece is devoid of craftsmanship, lacking artistic
color arrangement and showing inferior solder work. Dorinas
stained glass pieces demonstrate this distinction beautifully. When
looking at her one of her delicate glass jewelry boxes, necklaces
or lanterns, it is hard to imagine a machine or an amateur creating
something so original, delicate-looking and alluring.
Currently, Dorina prefers working with dichroic glass, a shiny chameleon
glass that changes color when tilted at varying angles. Unlike irridescent
glass which reflects mottled colors on its surface, dichroic glass absorbs
oxides all the way through, resulting in a brilliant sheen. The effect
of using dichroic glass as the base of a jewelry box is dazzling; setting
the rest of the clear glass aglow. Dorinas mastery of her art allows
her to use this luminous glass in her work with powerful results.
Since her arrival ten years ago, Dorina has been an active participant
in the Moab community. Along with two women, she founded Pet Friends,
a precursor to the Humane Society. Her inheritance from this endeavor
is four healthy, happy dogs and a feeling of belonging to the community.
Dorina has continued participating in local events, most notably the Annual
Moab Arts Festival. Although she has been a loyal presenter for the last
nine years, since the fair began, she will not be able to exhibit her
works this summer. This is unfortunate for those continuously intrigued
by her work or looking forward to discovering it, but not for her; her
May wedding conflicting with the fair impedes her participation this year.
Very little could draw Dorina away from exhibiting her works at the fair,
but she will be marrying Moab-resident Damian Nash on the same weekend
this year. Congratulations to them both!
For those impatient to check out Dorinas creations, visit the Earth
Studio on Main Street. Also, keep your eyes open for gorgeous stained
glass windows in businesses and residences throughout Grand County. Dorina
Krüsemer can be contacted directly at (435) 259-7886 or email@example.com.
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