Glass artist Laurel Johns splits her time between a tiny Georgia barrier island and mid-coast Maine. Her artistic vision was influenced early on by growing up on Cumberland Island, Georgia, where her father was a ranger for the National Park Service. Then she moved to St. Marys where her mother, artist Janice Kirkland, turned the dining room of their house into a ceramics studio.
Laurel received formal training in painting, sculpture, and jewelry-making at the University of Georgia. It was in Athens that Laurel first started experimenting with glass art, and although she still painted, she found glass to be a medium which allowed her to freely express her love of color and light three-dimensionally.
Laurel, and her husband Richard, built their house on Hird Is., GA with views of the Sapelo lighthouse and the open ocean. Grey Dog Studio Inc. was established in 2001 and they now move the household and studio to Maine from May-Oct.
There Laurel was named “Artist of the Year” at the Belfast Art Show in 2010.
And, was published in Water’s Edge magazine.
You can find Grey Dog Studio artwork in 20+ shops in Maine, and in many other cities around the US. (See “Where to Buy”.)
"It's true that I live on the coast and that a lot of my art reflects that landscape, but I think that there is something really universal about glass. I don't think that a person necessarily has to understand the beauty of the coast in order to understand the beauty of glass."
It is for this reason that Laurel makes a variety of different glass artwork. From the stained glass mosaic windows with coastal icons, such as sea turtles and sailboats, to the ornamental “Dancing Stars”, the highly functional night lights and recycled bottle “Tumbled Island Glass” utensils and serving pieces.
"Most of my works have a coastal theme but some of them are just for fun. I've found that my background in jewelry and sculpture really help me to push the limits of stained glass. There's a lot you can do outside of a two-dimensional panel!"
Regardless of theme, all of Laurel's pieces are hand-constructed and none of them are identical. To create art in this way requires true inspiration, and each unique piece holds a little bit of the light that first inspired Laurel to piece it together.