Sue Darte blames her daughter and a jewelry making class she took nine years ago for igniting a passion for the art of fusing glass.
“A retail glass company had a Groupon coupon and I brought my daughter-in-law with me to make two pieces of jewelry,” Sue said.
In the class, Sue and the others learned how to make jewelry using dichroic glass, a multicolored glass used primarily by glass fusers to make jewelry and fused glass art.
“I gave a piece to my daughter who said she needed me to make more because a lot of people wanted to buy it,” she said.
The class proved to be the catalyst for a second career as a glass artist for Sue, who at the time, was networking executive for Hewlett Packard near Houston. She started making jewelry, using the glass company’s kiln for a year until she was ready to take the next step and bought her first small kiln.
“They (kilns) are very expensive and depending on the type, you have to be sure that your house is wired for the right plugs,” she said.
Kiln prices can vary from $700 for a tabletop kiln used to make jewelry and smaller items to over $6,000 for a larger, freestanding kiln.
Sue set up shop in a small portion of her garage in her Deer Park home. Her workspace was created using tables purchased at Harbor Freight that her husband Brad turned into a 5 sq. ft. workbench with a power strip.
“I had limited space in my Deer Park garage, so I couldn’t purchase much,” she said.
After the couple moved to Farmersville in 2015, Sue had an entire garage to herself to use as her workspace. She accumulated three more kilns. One, a coffin kiln called Levi, was previously owned by a man who made swords. The bigger kiln allows Sue to make bigger items, yet at the same time she said it can heat up the garage to as high as 115 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer.
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By Sonia Duggan • [email protected]