Kim Hogan

Kim Hogan

MOSAIC STAINED GLASS ARTIST

It’s a Monday afternoon at the Banana Factory, and Kim Hogan’s students are gathering up their projects at the end of their stained glass mosaic class. Hogan compliments a girl who comes up to show her the progress she’s made and reminds another to be careful as she hurries out the door.

“I love teaching, both adults and kids,” says Hogan, who teaches evening classes for adults as well as the after-school program for middle-schoolers at the Bethlehem arts center. “With the kids, there’s a different energy.” 

There’s also a focus on safety. “I always ask the kids, ‘Raise your hands if your parents let you play with broken glass at home.’ It’s not a medium most adults would feel comfortable letting their kids use.” But once those rules are learned—and continually reinforced—the kids create some wonderful pieces.

The process is actually a very simple one. A pattern or illustration is drawn on a surface, pieces of colored glass are cemented onto the surface, then grout is applied to fill in the spaces.

“Mosaic was literally the first form of art glass work,” says Angelo Grello, CEO of Warner Art Glass in Whitehall Township. It goes back thousands of years to Mesopotamia and was popular among the ancient Greeks and Romans and in the Byzantine Empire. The ancient glass mosaics still retain their vibrant colors. “It’s a misnomer that stained glass is stained. The color is cooked right into the glass. They typically start with glass that is clear then add minerals or metals to it. For example, pink is glass with gold bullion added to it. Cobalt blue has cobalt cooked into it.”

Those vibrant colors are one of the things that attracted Hogan to the medium. Liberation was another. A graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York, she had been focusing on watercolor portraits of children and murals. But a friend needed one more student to run a mosaic class at the same time she was going through a divorce and “it felt good to smash things.” “I discovered how freeing it was, as opposed to doing a portrait to where it really has to look like that person. It was very freeing to move into smashing up pieces and rearranging them.”

Her first mosaic used some old dishes she had saved for an art project, but she soon turned to stained glass, first using a hammer to break it, then turning to tools to give her more control. “The range of colors is so lush and vivid and so much more varied than what you can find in tile.”

But Hogan doesn’t limit herself to stained glass. A fish mosaic hanging on her studio wall includes auto glass, mirrored glass, broken dishes and magazine photographs; the whimsical “Tree of Wisdom” features magnets, geodes, pebbles, slate, and lidded tin boxes that open up to reveal messages; and a piece designed for a children’s waiting room is full of hidden items for youngsters to find—tiny turtles, butterflies, fish, and words are embedded in the larger work. “I like to get playful,” she says.

Her work is varied, from the whimsical to the serious and from more small, simple designs to elaborately detailed panels, like those she is creating for a children’s story book on the circus. The larger, more complex pieces, like the portrait of a dog that is on display at the Banana Factory, can take months to complete, while a simple one-foot square design may take only an evening.

Hogan divides her time between creating her art and her teaching, which also includes residencies in area schools and team-building activities for corporations. This spring, she’s working with students at two Bethlehem elementary schools to create legacy projects. At Donegan, she is helping the four fifth-grade classes to create their own mosaics on pillars in an outdoor classroom depicting a different Pennsylvania animal. At Governor Wolf, students are working on outdoor planters. She has done similar projects in Saucon Valley. Group legacy projects she has led can also be found at the Sigal Museum in Easton and on the benches in the park across from Just Born in Bethlehem.

She will be the featured artist in May in the lobby of the Banana Factory.

BANANAFACTORY.ORG

WARNER ART GLASS CENTER

A glass artist at Warner Art Glass Center is like a kid in a candy store. The aisles of brightly colored glass, tools, fusing supplies, and accessories are seemingly endless. A knowledgeable staff is there to help. And if that isn’t enough, there are plenty of beautiful creations on display to inspire, from stained glass mosaics and windows to vases and ornaments.

“I always tell my students it’s like an art museum, but it’s free to get into,” says mosaic artist Kim Hogan. “That’s where I buy all my glass. If someone wants to start, that’s the place to shop. We’re so lucky. There are only a few places like that in the United States. It’s nice to have them in our backyard.”

Located at 603 Eighth St. in Whitehall Township, the store, visible from Route 22, offers materials for all forms of glass art, from cold (stained glass and mosaic), to warm (fusing) and hot (glass blowing and glass sculpting) glass. Founded by Charles Warner in San Diego, the company moved to the Lehigh Valley in the 1980s, with a mission of making glass crafting fun and accessible.

To that end, it offers a free three-hour class, Introduction to Art Glass 101, which offers an introduction to the various types of glass art, including a glass-blowing demonstration followed by two hours of hands-on instruction. “When you walk out of here, you’re marked and dangerous. And you’re able to comprehend what you’re doing. It’s all about competence and confidence,” says Warner CEO and instructor Angelo Grello.

“Mosaics is the simplest by far. You can apply glass to almost anything. You can buy a ceramic pot for 50 cents at Home Depot and glue glass on it and grout it and have a masterpiece. It’s really that simple,” Grello says. “But then you can get into the advanced cutters and special shears, and all types of glues and applications. A lot of people who start with mosaics graduate into more involved things.”

WARNERARTGLASS.COM

Follow @LehighValleyMarketplace on Instagram

This error message is only visible to WordPress admins

Error: API requests are being delayed for this account. New posts will not be retrieved.

There may be an issue with the Instagram Access Token that you are using. Your server might also be unable to connect to Instagram at this time.

Error: No posts found.

Make sure this account has posts available on instagram.com.

Error: admin-ajax.php test was not successful. Some features may not be available.

Please visit this page to troubleshoot.