Glass artist brings affordable creativity to show at fairgrounds
Bit by bit, glass art has taken over Kelly Yeats' home in Hillsboro.
There's a light box for examining glass in the living room. The laundry room doubles as a cold working room with a saw blade for cutting glass on the back wall. The garage has three kilns for firing her creations with tools and materials on shelves dominating half the room inside.
"My poor boyfriend, sometimes I feel bad," said Yeats. "But he's like, 'OK!' He's fully committed."
Yeats is one of more than 80 artists entered in the annual Affordable Art for Everyone show on Saturday, Sept. 16, at the Washington County Fair Complex, 873 N.E. 34th Ave., The show features high-quality art offered for less than $100. The artwork ranges from paintings and photography to metalwork, jewelry and glass — Yeats' specialty.
By day, she works in IT for Providence Health and Services, a job for which she moved from Arizona to the Portland area. The cooler weather was attractive, she said, before the triple-digit temperatures this summer, and the job also opened the opportunity to be close to her supplier, Bullseye Glass.
"But if I'm not at work, I'm doing something else glass-related," she said.
Yeats has always been creative, she said. In high school, Yeats delved into quilting projects, making beads and jewelry-like ornaments. Fascinated by the properties of glass, she chased the art form, but stayed away from blowing glass.
"I never felt like I was coordinated with a torch," Yeats said. "Glass workers need more dexterity than I felt like I had with both hands."
Instead, she learned to fuse glass, a process in which partially melted glass is melded together. Artists can fuse glass around objects, like acrylic paintings, or embed figurines.
Her paintings feature eclectic splashes of color — some shades of bright blue, others with deep purple and green and still others that resemble the rings of Saturn.
Similar color schemes show up in glass pendants, plates and bowls, and set onto copper bracelets.
But perhaps Yeats' most emotional creation is a pair of angel wings set into a glass square. After her dad died of exposure in the desert in 2014, Yeats poured herself into art.
"It's just something I was playing with while in a class," Yeats said. "It's an image [that's] pleasing to me, more than anything, after the death of my father."
The piece is popular with customers who have recently experienced a death in the family or the loss of a pet — someone they wish to remember.
Yeats' business and passion have grown since her beginnings in 2012. She plans expanding to use photography and glass, and is the webmaster for the Oregon Glass Guild, which she'll be helping represent on Saturday.
"The guild feels like this is an awesome opportunity to not only be involved as a guild, but help put on a great event," she said. "Typically, lots of people come and the price point is nice: everything under $99."