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An excerpt from Shayna Leib’s interview with Lucky Compiler:

At a tender age of seven Shayna Leib first saw glassblowing at a local university and was fascinated by it. At California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California she received her BA in philosophy with minors in glass and literature. After initially accepting to pursue PhD in philosophy Shayna chose to study glass at the graduate level and moved to Madison, Wisconsin. It is there that she completed MFA in May, 2003. She also got involved in teaching and researches and served the role of Adjunct Faculty in Department of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison and also Lecturer in Sculpture & Drawing at Department of Art, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA. The fluidity of melted glass as well as its capability in capturing a moment frozen in time induced Shayna in being in love and excelling in this art form over the years.


Your love of art with glass started very early. Describe the sensation you feel in working with a mouldable material to create a statement piece of art.

Working with glass is a very sublime experience. It has a very steep learning curve, but once you get past it, the beauty of the material and how it responds to you really comes through. When I hold a blowpipe or punty, it’s as if for that amount of time, I have another appendage and it’s a part of me. Working with glass is always described as a dance, but I think if you are tuned into it enough, it’s more than that. At this point in my experience with the material, I know what it will do at all times, and we really move as one entity. I feel the give of the material or the resistance and vibration of it when it gets too cold. It feels good when the tools move over it and the sensation moves into my hand from the tools.


What are the elements that influenced the artist in you?

I am most influenced by the sea. When I’m diving, there is a quiet and rhythmic bliss under the water, where you can only hear your breath, and the occasional whale song. All else is quiet, and it forces us humans to stop talking and just experience. There is no end to inspiration in the sea, whether it’s the texture of hard coral, or the patterns of a nudibranch’s lungs. There is much that is interesting about people, there is just much more that is interesting about marine invertebrates. I am a very slow diver because I take everything in, and like to explore the small stuff. That leads to me being left behind a lot. I sometimes get in trouble because I forget time is passing when I am photographing and exploring. And a lot of divers are large mammal chasers and like to move fast. We are not compatible dive partners.


Other times, I get caught up watching turtle grass under my kayak, or looking at an anemone in an aquarium at a restaurant. And above water, it’s always grasslands, how they move with the wind. I am obsessed with flowers, though I have no urge to create them in glass. I dream of intense floral landscapes with flowers as big as stop signs. And I am above all fascinated with color.

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Image Courtesy: The Artist