Nancy Becker’s glass works embody her ability to tune into natures music. She is inspired to recreate the spirit of a place in her pieces using color and form. The transparency and color of hand-blown glass allows her to use light as a component of the work. After moving to Mississippi for five years and then back to Central Oregon she is now settled in her own space. It’s been a long and dusty road. Her new body of work encompasses both her evolution as a human and an artist.
Nancy has been making glass for nearly her whole life. As a child she would mix sand with food coloring and paint with it. Knowing nothing about the art of glass-blowing she initially took a class for stained glass and was drawn inexorably to the color, light and texture of glass. A community college class in glass-blowing gave her the first real taste of making her own glass. With huge fire-fed furnaces and and being urged to jump right into the process, she never turned back. In this crucible she learned the fundamentals of blowing molten glass into glorious creations.
While visiting the world capital of glass making in Murano Italy, in search of glass blowing equipment from the masters, she met the tool-maker himself. Thinking she had been sent to purchase the tools of the trade for the man she worked for he needed convincing that she was the one using the tools. Nancy ended up showing him her ‘working’ hands. Hands that bore the scars and callouses of many hours working with glass. Because at that time glass blowers tended to be men, the toolmaker was so impressed he gifted her the tools. She still uses them today.
The glass-making process
Nancy begins by making 300 lbs of clear glass at a time from raw materials. When starting a piece layers are added from the inside out. Each color has it’s own properties. Asked how she decides on the colors for a piece and intertwines them she says, “Sometimes it’s simply my mood. It’s a choice in the building process. Some colors are too wild if they are thin so the counter balance is to add another layer of clear or another color. I combine colors based on how they move as well as the values of the color itself. Some colors create additional colors when they are next to another color so it’s has it’s own alchemy.”
Nancy’s artist journey is evocative of where she is in her own evolution. She has experienced a brain injury, and considers it a blessing. “I was knocked out of complacency. I have had to choose my direction in a really different way as my previous memory bank was unavailable or unreliable. I had to learn how to make pieces again as well as all of the other technical aspects of glass making. So Dark to Light is very personal to me and yet I see all of us are at that same crossroads.We choose. Moment to moment we choose what we are reflecting back to the collective. I wanted to show the beauty of that personal evolution and somehow reflect that level of joy and love I can now connect to.”
Nancy lives on acreage in Central Oregon with four horses, two miniature donkeys, seven cats and three amazing dogs—her family. She has built a horse arena that sits on a level area with a view of the countryside and the mountains. A place of serenity. After her brain injury riding was not possible because of the movement. Over time, with the help of friends and a trainer, she has learned to ride again, regaining that tremendous joy in her life. “Needing to immerse myself in nature I drink in color and sky while riding my horses. Time stops while listening to the wind, the trees and the birds. It’s a personal symphony of perception that I bring to my art forms.”