For as far back as I can remember I have always been a "hands-on" kind of person, enjoying almost any kind of activity that included making something. Even as a teenager I was always busy with a craft, at that time selling custom-designed clothing I had made to a local retailer.
My interests shifted to woodworking and furniture making, and I obtained a Fine Arts degree in Interior Design in 1982. My thesis project was a line of production furniture, for which I built all the prototypes, and designed graphics and packaging for the system as well. After graduating I started working in a variety of design-related jobs, mostly in architecture and construction. I learned a lot about computers and bookkeeping, but after about ten years in the office, I started to realize how much I missed working with my hands. In 1992 I started playing around with kiln-fired glass, in a friends' studio.
In 1994 I started working for another craftsperson. There I started to learn the ropes of the craft industry, doing production work, bookkeeping, marketing and helping out at shows. During this time I also set up my own studio for doing fused glass work. In 1995 I started doing my own work full-time, and haven't looked back since.
My background in interior design has suited me well in my hand-crafted glass endeavor. What I enjoy the most about the design process is finding a balance between what pleases me aesthetically to create, and what is a feasible design in terms of maximizing glass yield, (which is very expensive), as well as the constraints of how difficult a particular shape of glass can be to cut. I love working out cutting patterns that create negatives and positives, and using both shapes in the creation of a piece.
Originally my designs were fairly representative, such as the Fish group, or the Flower group. Now I work much more with abstract forms and shapes, emphasizing bold colors and graphic looks.
Shepardson Studios produces an extensive line of kiln-fired glass tableware. Kiln-fired glass is an ancient glass-forming technique that is enjoying a resurgence in the fine arts and crafts movement today. All my items are produced by cutting and piecing together various colors of sheet glasses. I primarily use iridized glasses manufactured by a company called Bullseye, a major producer of art glasses made for fusing. All the cutting is done by hand, giving each piece its' own hand-crafted look, and then the pieces are assembled and fused together in the kilns. A second firing "slumps" the pieces over their molds, creating bowls and plates.