Life in the glass lane is a wonderful ride. My name is Stephanie Jochims and I am fortunate to wake up every day and cut glass. I have been a glass artist for over 20 years. My journey started on a rainy weekend in April learning glass bead making, lampworking, learning to roll glass onto a steel mandrel in an oxy/propane torch system I made beads. It was fascinating, a scientific experiment every day. I learned the properties of how different colors and types of glass interacted to produce stunning results. I also loved to make floral focus beads.
As I learned more about glass, I started to think about glass fusing. I did some research, bought my first stash of fusible glass, a ceramic mold, and the necessities needed to run my first full fuse fire in my little bead kiln. It went really well, I loved it and wanted more! I enrolled in a beginning fused glass course, got a little educated!, and went home to start fusing glass.
I worked full time running the family construction business in the western suburbs of Minneapolis and did glass fusing as a hobby. I started doing art festivals, then was asked to teach glass fusing for the local community ed program, and retail stores started to pick me up. My love of glass was taking a front seat in my life and I wanted to go for the ride!
In 2001 my husband and I relocated to Cable, Wisconsin and I was given the opportunity to pursue my glass ambitions. I opened my studio in downtown Hayward in April of 2011 and started to peddle my wares! I was lucky, and worked hard and my dream came true. Glassy Ladies Art Studio was a hit.
In April of 2018 I moved my studio to Cable to focus more on teaching and commissions.
I have been working for the last five years on perfecting glass lampshades and now ship them all over the country. I teach all over northern Wisconsin in my studio in Cable and also for charter school, in home students and art organizations. I share my love of glass to students from 2 to 93 and get great joy seeing the delight in people’s eyes when they hold their first project.
June of 2019 my brother, Dan, passed away. After a lifetime of alcoholism and drug abuse and a very difficult year prior to his death he was at peace. I was devastated. I had worked with cremains and glass fusing, but was never satisfied with the result, as the ash would push through and bubble out of the finish piece. Resulting in an imperfect and cloudy finished piece of glass. I could not predict the end product. I had been doing a lot of experimenting with tack fusing in my glass projects and wondered if the ash would cooperate at the lower kiln temp. One of my students, Taylor 13, volunteered her dog Cracker’s ashes to give it a try! I built the glass and put Cracker’s ashes into it, sealed it up, and fired it in my kiln at a lower temp.
It worked! I was thrilled. Soul Catcher was born. Once I got my brothers cremains I worked on developing my business. I use my brother’s ashes in all my promotional photos and media giving him part of the action. He would have liked that!
I have found great comfort having my brothers ashes, and other important souls in my life, hanging beautifully in my windows. I smile when the sun captures itself in the glass caressing my lost souls. I believe that a Soul Catcher honors those we have lost. I look forward to sharing this calm with my clients and bringing light back into those we love.
Glass is an amazing medium, I learn everyday working with it. I can hardly wait to see what I’m building next year!