120801-BurnsideCecilia Nasmith, Northumberland Today
COLBORNE - Inspiration can be seen in many kinds of visual arts — fabrics, photographs, paintings, prints, sculpture.

In Mary Lou Burnside’s work, it is the world of glass that fascinates. Most pieces begin with a pattern in mind. After sketches and decisions about the form and function of the piece, a fairly scientific procedure must be carefully followed involving sheets of glass, molds and specific processes.

“In the real world, sometimes things go sideways and, for various reasons, I end up with a piece that doesn’t quite resemble the initial design. But that’s where the excitement and satisfaction of this art form comes in,” Burnside said.

“The more experienced and knowledgeable I become, the more unique and interesting the results of my work are. Confidence in my skills and in the manipulation of the different processes allows the design process to flow easier.

“Also, I finally accepted the supremacy of the Kiln Gods. They have the final say on how a piece comes out of the kiln.”

Burnside is a member of the co-operatively run Colborne Art Gallery, where her exhibit 1500 Degrees Fahrenheit (named for the temperature at which glass is fused) opens Saturday.

Along with chairing the fundraising committee and helping with the physical set-up of various shows, Burnside has contributed two to three new works for each of the eight exhibitions per year. This membership has taken her work to a wider and more discerning audience, she said. She also credits the talents of the other members with inspiring her to greater creative heights — which includes seeking out new challenges.

“Other glass artists influence my process,“ she said. “There are several gurus out there that have developed or perfected techniques or processes that really appeal to me, such as crackle glass or bas relief. I’ve studied with some of these artists, and I am so pleased to be able to use the knowledge I’ve gained from them in my work.

“I’m scheduled to take another course in Batavia, N.Y., this August with a visiting artist from Ireland, who teaches colour reactions between different types of glass and deep slumping.”

The show in the gallery at 51 King St. E., Colborne, will open many eyes to the wonderful transformative properties of glass and the inventive mind of Mary Lou Burnside. An opening reception will run July 14 fro 2 to 4 p.m., and the show continues through Aug. 19. Gallery hours are Thursday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.