By LEIGH GUIDRY, The Advertiser
YOUNGSVILLE, La. (AP) — Dawn Savoy calls her art studio her happy place. This is where she can create, come up with new ideas and find something exciting among shards of colored glass and metal.
“When I go in there with the glass and play, it brings me real joy,” Savoy said. “I want to be in this studio. I want to play with glass and play with ideas, to be part of the art itself.
She said she finds joy and fulfillment in making art out of glass.
“I’m just fascinated by glass, hypnotized,” Savoy said. “It’s almost spiritual – the way light dances through glass, textures and colors.”
Savoy began the work nearly three decades ago as a hobby, crafting items for herself or gifts for friends and family. About five years ago, friends encouraged her to start selling.
She became a seller at local markets and launched her Etsy shop, ASunriseStainedGlass. On Facebook, it’s called Sunrise Glass Creations, but the name was too long for the craft store’s website.
Today, his art pays for itself.
“It allows me to do what I love,” she said. “It fuels my passion.”
She works in a converted room at her home in Youngsville, where she keeps some of her early artwork or ones that didn’t turn out the way she wanted.
“I keep them because I was learning,” she said. “They are very special. They are also art. The thing with art is that it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Working with glass is a multi-faceted process, like construction, Savoy said. It starts with an idea, then finds patterns and develops a plan. She chooses the colors and the glass, paints, cuts, welds, polishes, cements and sometimes bakes the product.
She won’t claim the title of master of any of these techniques, but she has learned a lot over the years, especially from the other local glass artisans who have shared their time and wisdom with her.
“They took the time to teach me, to encourage me, to share their knowledge with me,” Savoy said.
She’s grown through her years of practice, which includes learning when to stop.
“Glass is glass, and I have to put it down if it starts to break,” Savoy said.
She does traditional stained glass, Tiffany glass, mosaic and fusing. She prefers working with lead and finds metals almost as fascinating as glass. She also started traditional glass painting.
Savoy lost sight in one eye in 2019 and struggles to perceive depth.
“Working with the tedious little pieces of yarn is a challenge,” the artist said. “It’s very difficult, but I find ways that work for me.”
She is able to keep a flexible schedule when it comes to her art. When she has an event or market coming up, she may work 8-19 hours a day, but she can usually take her time.
Although it makes her happy, working with glass is not something Savoy does for her alone. She has seen her art touch people in very special ways.
A woman bought a Savoy glass cross to place in a garden in memory of her deceased 8-year-old son.
“I was reduced to tears, thinking my drink would touch people, inspire people,” she said. “I have commemorated special moments with my art.”
Savoy enjoys these moments, but tries not to think about other people’s expectations when creating.
“Everyone looks at it a little differently,” Savoy said. “But when the right person sees my art, it shows. A woman, her eyes set on that little honeycomb and it was done. It tickles me. I smile even if they don’t buy.
Originally from New Orleans, Savoy moved to Lafayette in 1988 where she met her husband Ronnie and made Acadiana her home.
“I’ve been here long enough to know it’s the best culture in the world and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else,” she said.
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