Spiritual energy transformed into art
Sandy Hartley sees the world from both sides of her brain.
The artist thinks of herself as creative and business-minded and wants to share her craft.
She’s preparing to teach a class in stained glass art at the South Lake Tahoe Senior Center starting Sept. 18. The sessions are scheduled once a week and include materials at a cost of $225.
Hartley, 56, has taught the art form for 30 years and has learned at least one very important lesson herself.
Without marketing, the art form goes unnoticed. Forget the images of scattered artists without an ounce of business acumen. In the more than six years she’s been in Tahoe, Hartley has been preoccupied with how to get her work in front of the public eye.
“If you can’t sell it, then nobody will know about it,” she said.
And it depends on what the market will bear. Her work has sold for between $32 to $10,000, the latter being a mural in Kings Beach.
Some of her work displays are in interior design showrooms.
On Tuesday, she was planning to take a trip to the Sonoma County wine country to do cold calls.
She’s willing to try new things and hopes others will do the same when it comes to tapping into a new and relatively obscure art form. This will be the tenth time she’s put on the class for South Shore residents.
There’s no mistake when it comes to marketing and timing. Hartley timed the four-week workshop to coincide with the holiday season. And in winter, many people delve into more indoor activities.
“I tell people they can make clocks, boxes, stepping stones. It’s a good way to make Christmas gifts,” she said.
The hobby takes about a $500 investment if someone decides to go it alone, but Hartley brings in her tools for the students to use in the class.
For the first few sessions, Hartley also lugs a book of ideas for her students to draw inspiration from.
Hartley said she likes the early sessions because she witnesses budding artists get their creative juices flowing. She channels her spiritual energy into the art form.
“I have to do something with my pioneering spirit,” she said, adding past similar encounters with her students.
Hartley said she’s had an accountant dealing with a mother with Alzheimer’s disease in her class — a healthy way to relieve stress.
Even though developing pieces of art feeds her soul, Hartley lets go of her work at a whim.
“If I hold on to what I have, it doesn’t encourage me to move on to that next project. I need that open space,” she said.
Creating stained glass pieces requires an eight-step process. It starts with drawing a pattern on glass with a Sharpie pen that’s eventually cut and ground to soften the edges. They’re subsequently wrapped with copper foil.
On Tuesday morning, Hartley showed some leaves she’s making for the autumn season.
A variety of materials — including wire — can be used to enhance the works of art. The pieces are often used to decorate a home. But sometimes it’s the other way around.
“Look, this should have a skylight above it,” Hartley said in a display room of her sister’s house. The part-time resident lives in New Mexico half the year, where she’s set up a large studio.
“It’s great to have local artists teach their talent,” said John Collins, who runs the Senior Center for the city.
Hartley approached Collins with the idea of the class for the Parks and Recreation Department.
“It’s something the public might be interested in. I’m sure people are starting to think about Christmas gifts,” he said.
But the craft doesn’t end there.
“It’s a lifelong art you can learn,” he said.
— Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at email@example.com