Kristy Nijenkamp

Kristy NijenkampMy first glimpse of hot glass was as a seven-year old Army brat visiting an Italian glass factory. I was totally mesmerized. The glass factories were undoubtedly one of the coolest things to date I have ever seen and affected me deeply. Add that fascination to me shadowing my father's lapidary hobby, stones, jewelry and jump rings, and a life-long passion was laid down with colors, metal, stones and imagination.

Imagine my surprise when I found out later in life you didn't have to be a gorgeous, sweaty, Italian man in a warehouse to work with hot glass. I work out of my daylight studio featuring my torch bench, jewelry area and client consultant area (see About the Process for more information).

My passion is creating one-of-a-kind custom pieces for clients. Getting to know people’s stories–their anniversaries, birthdays, health survivor victories– all give me a unique opportunity to stop time and make something very personal and fitting for a client. The piece becomes a kind of prayer, or focus of intention for that person… frozen in time in glass. Working with their colors, drape size and style preference all get my creative juices going on a journey to a final end product they will treasure. The resulting piece may be jewelry, a perfume bottle or a framed object d’art featuring glass pieces. Every day presents a different opportunity for me to work towards making “that perfect piece.”

It is an exciting time to be working with glass. The glass art industry is experiencing an energetic and unprecedented movement as more information is taught and shared (as opposed to our roots of being secretly passed down in the family business… or lost!). Knowledge among the glass artist community is growing exponentially, and we are sharing our experiences across various glass techniques such as flameworking, casting, fusing, and scientific glass blowing. This educational growth is bursting “the glass ceiling” on how and what we can make with glass.

I have been extremely fortunate to have taken classes from great glass artists including Sylvie Lansdowne, Pati Walton, Michael Barley, Heather Trimlett, Brent Graber, Loren Stump, Larry Scott, Brad Pearson, Lauri Copeland, Marcy Lamberson, Tink Martin, Stevi Belle, Lisa St. Martin, Lance McRorie, and Carol Webb to mention a few. Each teacher provided new techniques or insights for me to incorporate into my own personal style of working with hot glass.

As well as being known for high fashion jewelry that complements elegant contemporary styles, my custom work ranges from funky, eclectic, out-of-the-box pieces, to whimsical, seasonal, and even traditional work.

I'm a member of The International Society of Glass Beadmakers (ISGB) as well as an involved member of The Southern Flames, a chapter of the ISGB.

My work has been featured in the books One Big Beautiful Bead (Lark, 2007), Margie Deeb’s color books, The Beader’s Color Palette (Watson-Guptill, 2008) and The Beader’s Guide to Color (Watson-Guptill, 2004).

My work can be seen in Roswell, Georgia (metro Atlanta) at The Upstairs Gallery, The Great Frame Up and Salon R. Julian. Clients can set up an appointment to visit me to begin designing a piece.

In addition to “glass lampworking” (heating glass with a torch to make beads, figures and sculptures), I have begun working with glass casting as well as fusing glass pieces. Stay tuned... my glass journey will never end. It continually grows and morphs as my skills from more practice allow me to create more of the great, big ideas floating around in my head and dreams.