No one enjoys what they do more than Joan Johnson

The Creative Side | Jaris English

  • Wednesday, November 21, 2018 11:30am
  • Life
Courtesy Photo                                An example of a glass heart blown at the studio.

Courtesy Photo An example of a glass heart blown at the studio.

I’ve met very few people who enjoy what they do as much as Joan (Joanie) Johnson, owner of Renton Art and Glass Studio. The business is an artist collective, where artists use the facility and equipment to create and produce artistic glass pieces for sale in various venues, galleries and events.

Joan went to the College of Dupage in Illinois, majoring in art and interior design, but spent years in the mortgage business. She said many artists don’t have business skills to help them, and she finds that business experience useful.

Joan is a glass artist herself. The studio moved into the current location near IKEA a few years ago, but the original Uptown Glass was in downtown Renton for more than 30 years. It was in those early days that Joan walked in there thinking she was signing up for a bead making class. It was her first encounter with making art out of glass and she was immediately hooked. Eventually, the owner told her how good she was. She rented space and started producing her own works of art and became a certified instructor.

At the present location, there are four full-time artists who are renting space. Classes are offered for anyone interested in learning this field of art. The Taste of Glass class is perfect for someone to test it out and see if it’s something they want to continue. This class is intended for students with no glass experience. The students make two paperweights using various processes and color techniques.

She said she has one student who is 5 years old and does a great job. Students learn the use of glass blowing tools, how to gather flowing glass from the furnace, and how to shape glass. The day I visited, there were glass pumpkins everywhere in every color imaginable, all ready for Halloween. They are also taught the importance of teamwork and shop safety. After all, the electric oven (or kiln) is over 2100 degrees! During the cooling process, the glass art must cool slowly to avoid exploding.

Joan is always coming up with new ideas and she said, “We have various types of events and sales that we offer to charities, schools and communities.”

The studio often partners with nonprofit organizations such as Mercer Island Youth and Family Services and Bellevue’s Many Lights Foundation for fundraising events.

One of her ideas became the glass pumpkin patch where 50 percent of the proceeds go to group events to support their school. Corporate Team Building sessions allow groups to blow their own glass business card holders, pen holders, paperweights etc.

At a Girls Night Out class, students learn how to cut and assemble glass into earrings, pendants, sunflowers and sun catchers. They also make glass hearts or other objects that hold memorial ashes of pets and people.

“The ashes are beautiful and sparkle inside of the glass,” Joan said.

One of the artists was working on a glass heart while I was there. He was using a glass pipe to gather bits of colored glass from the oven to form the heart. Joan said the artists are a fun group.

“It’s a great environment and everyone shares and helps each other. I choose easy-going people to work here who enjoy the art and don’t get too intense,” she said.

She mentioned an artist in another studio who got mad and threw his hot glass pipe! “If you’re going to be in the arts, it’s got to be fun — or else, why do it?”

The gallery is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can reach them by email at rentonagstudio@gmail.com.

Author Jaris English can be reached at silverpen45@gmail.com.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Life

Rajiv Nagaich is an elder law attorney, author, adjunct law school professor, and retirement planning visionary who has achieved national recognition for his cutting-edge work with retirees and his contributions to the practice of elder law. He is the founder of two firms based in Federal Way: Life Point Law, an elder law and estate planning firm, and AgingOptions, a firm that provides retirement-related education to consumers and professionals.
You probably won’t die in your sleep | Senior Lifestyles

Traditional estate planning is based on notions that are out of sync… Continue reading

2021 Lexus IS350 AWD F-Sport
Car review: 2021 Lexus IS350 AWD F-Sport

By Larry Lark, contributor When it comes to manufacturing compact luxury sports… Continue reading

2021 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S
Car review: 2021 Mercedes AMG E63 S sedan

By Larry Lark, contributor The latest incarnation of the Mercedes AMG E63… Continue reading

2021 Mazda3 Premium Plus
Car review: 2021 Mazda3 Premium Plus

By Larry Lark, contributor The Mazda3 has always looked the part of… Continue reading

2021 Toyota 4Runner 4x4 Trail Special Edition
Car review: 2021 Toyota 4Runner 4×4 Trail Special Edition

By Larry Lark, contributor If the great outdoors is your playground, it… Continue reading

Kathie Nguyen embraces Eileen & Callie's Place founder Dr. Natalie Ellington. Celebrate 18!, hosted on July 13, 2019, was also the day of Ellington's birthday. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo
Nonprofit to host birthday party for girls aging out of the foster care system

Eileen & Callie’s Place is hosting Celebrate 18!, a celebration and resource event, Saturday, July 17.

Car review: 2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line
Car review: 2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line

By Larry Lark, contributor Sometimes it’s better to zig when the competition… Continue reading

2021 Kia Sorento X-Line AWD. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2021 Kia Sorento X-Line AWD

By Larry Lark, contributor Kia’s fourth-generation Sorrento sports utility vehicle is a… Continue reading

2021 Mercedes Benz GLB250 4MATIC. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2021 Mercedes Benz GLB250 4MATIC

By Larry Lark, contributor The 2021 GLB250 4MATIC is a brand-spanking new… Continue reading

2021 Chevrolet Tahoe High Country. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe High Country

By Larry Lark, contributor In the overcrowded SUV market niche, if you’re… Continue reading

2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Car review: 2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

By Larry Lark, contributor How do you top the 2021 Dodge Durango… Continue reading

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat AWD
Car review: 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat AWD

By Larry Lark, contributor If you want something truly special, get in… Continue reading