Glass artist M. Melissa Childers of Childers Studio is a native of San Antonio, Texas. Inspired by travel and drawn to art, Melissa has worked in various mediums all of her life, but particularly enjoys the intrigue of creating glass art in her San Antonio studio.
Traveling to explore new places and peoples is one of my favorite pursuits. The intention of my artwork is to reflect and remind of the richness of life and the world around us—its depth, vibrancy, energy, color, light and spirit. As a philosophy major in college, I find that Irish poet and philosopher John O’ Donohue’s words best encapsulate my thoughts about nature and beauty: “We respond with delight to the call of beauty because in an instant it can awaken under the layers of the heart some forgotten brightness.”
One of the great inspirations for my art was the opportunity to study and travel extensively in Europe as part of my college education. I completed a semester of study in Spain and one in Denmark. In Spain, my classes were in Spanish at the University of Madrid and I lived with a Spanish-speaking family. A favorite of my subjects was Spanish art, and we had amazing classes in the renowned Prado Museum. Immersing myself in another language and culture was a wonderful experience for me.
My senior year, I studied for a semester in Denmark, then spent a number of months traveling by myself in Europe, from Scandinavia to Spain, Portugal and Italy. I spent lots of time in the great art museums in all the cities I visited. I felt very privileged to see so much extraordinary art and architecture firsthand and it has certainly influenced all aspects of my artistic endeavors ever since.
Asian Art and Natural World Influences
I am also drawn to the tranquility and understated nature so frequently found in Asian art. It is a passion that often surfaces in my artwork. My enjoyment of the creative capture of light and color is the essence of my art, particularly in my glass art landscapes and seascapes and in my oil paintings. My compositions are based both on photographs from my travels and on the imagery I create in my mind from the natural world.
Intrigue of Art Glass
I have always found art glass intriguing because it simultaneously reflects and transmits light and brilliant color; it has the ability to be both beautiful and functional, sensual or intellectual, textured or smooth, shiny or matte. I knew I wanted to fuse glass the first time I encountered the technique. In kiln-fired (or kiln-formed) glass art, pieces cut from glass sheets and bits of ground glass are placed on top of each other in a kiln and heated to a “fusing” temperature to create an original piece of art. The three-dimensional nature of fused glass art provides an extra challenge in accomplishing my vision. The outcome hiding in the kiln after firing is not always either under my control or predictable. The super-cooled liquid state of glass presents me with unique and enjoyable challenges for artful manipulation.
Early Exposure to Photography
My father was in the military when I was very young, and then as my parents continued to travel extensively after his military service, it instilled in me an interest in world travel and photography. Photos my father took of their many travels were displayed in our home and in his office, in addition to being sold at a well-respected local art gallery. As I grew up, I was always interested in being active outdoors and was awed by nature’s wonders while traveling. The development of digital photography has made it easier for me to experiment with cameras and photography as I explore the U.S. and other countries.