Fayette courthouse artists of month return with something new

| Saturday, May 3, 2014, 5:35 p.m.

Combining their talents, creativity and skill, the Wilsons of Washington are an impressive pair who humbly call their works of art a hobby.

Judy and Tom Wilson are the May artists of the month and will have their various types of art displayed in the Law Library of the Fayette County Courthouse.

The pair first displayed their fused glass pieces in September 2012 and are back with more items and different types of artwork.

“We were first interested in stained glass,” Judy Wilson said of the pair who have been working with different types of art for 20 years.

Wilson said that they became aware of classes that were being offered in fused glassmaking and decided to try a new art form.

“We bought a little kiln and decided to try it,” Judy Wilson said.

The Wilsons now apply the technique to create lovely items such as various jewelry pieces, purse hooks, plates, key holders, pendants and sun catchers, but their most popular items are glass bottles that have been “flattened” while being fired that they make into cheese trays.

“Those are pretty popular,” Tom Wilson said of the “cheese plates” that are made with a hook to hang them and come complete with a little cheese knife. “I saw them one day and just figured out how to do it.”

The cheese plates are a great way to utilize a special bottle of wine or champagne that may have sentimental value. Tom Wilson said that once he would receive a bottle, it would only take a few weeks to complete.

While the Wilsons have been creating traditional fused glass products for several years, the pair just recently began making fused glass jewelry that has requires etching to create patterns on the surface.

This etched form requires a double firing at the kiln compared to the other form that creates a more three-dimensional effect.

“The glass is placed in the kiln that is then heated to 1,465 degrees,” Judy Wilson said. “It usually takes about 12 hours for it to melt and fuse.”

Always looking for even more ways to use their creative talents, the retired math teachers said that they are constantly looking at other ways to express their talents, with Judy Wilson now also creating greeting cards out of original photographs that she has taken.

“They are mostly of flowers and birds and animals, but I have a few scenic ones as well,” she said of her cards that display images of photographs that she has taken in such places as Nemocolin Woodlands and Phipps Conservatory.

All of the items brought to the law library, with the exception of one framed bear window, are for sale.

“I think that this is awesome,” Judy Wilson said of the law library's artist of the month program. “It's such a nice opportunity for artists to come here and have the chance to display and that is what it is really all about, getting your things out so people can see.”

The artist program was established by assistant law librarian Barbara Pasqua back in 2007 when she thought that the facility could serve as a nice venue for area artists.

“I am amazed by what the Wilsons have done, and I am amazed every month when I see the wonderful things that are created by artists in the Fayette County area,” Pasqua said.

The law library is open during regular courthouse hours.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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