Published on February 4th, 2014 | by Katy Evans


Artist Sarah Gilbert finds and defines home in Tacoma

Sarah Gilbert – artist and head technician at the Museum of Glass –  is new to life in Tacoma. Although she has worked at the Museum since December of 2006, she only made the choice to join the Tacoma fold in 2012 when she bought a house on Tacoma’s west side.

Her relationship with Tacoma may still be in it’s early stages, but Sarah couldn’t help but build an affinity, so much so that it has inspired her newest series of sculptural portraits, an homage to her first hometown, Rochester, NY, and her new hometown, Tacoma.

Sarah in Hot Shop

Sarah Gilbert begins her residency in the Museum of Glass Hot Shop. Photo by Greg Owen.

Sarah is realizing her creative exploration of hometown roots thanks in part to the Tacoma Artists Initiative Program. She (along with 15 other highly regarded local artists) was awarded a grant by the City of Tacoma to support the creation and presentation of this new series.

Sarah has been working in glass since 1999. She earned a BFA in glass and sculpture from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2005 and has been building her craft ever since, both creatively and technically.

At the Museum, Sarah not only maintains and repairs all glassworking equipment, she supports world renowned artists who create art every day in the Hot Shop.

An accomplished fabricator as well as artist, Sarah unites her technical and artistic skills in her current series. The new collection of work displays her talent with glass, metal, and illustration: the pieces feature historical and contemporary figures from both Tacoma and Rochester, the characters and role models who, for Sarah, build the fabric of a city and a home.

All works in the series will feature Sarah’s signature ability to marry multiple mediums into a sculptural whole, and will highlight her exacting cameo technique where she takes sheet glass, applies it to the surface of a blown glass object, and then carves through the layers to create three dimensional portraits.

Thank You Ebenezer Sarah Gilbert

“Thank You, Ebenezer” by Sarah Gilbert

One such completed cameo, “Thank you, Ebenezer” displays Sarah’s singular talent and perspective.

The sculpture is a portrait framed by a shovel-shaped armature, representing the inception, groundbreaking, and flourishing of Tacoma’s beloved parks system. Ebenezer Rhys Roberts, the first superintendent of Tacoma’s parks, is portrayed on the blade of a shovel, kind eyes beaming over a flamboyant, blossoming moustache made of leaves and flowers.

You can watch Sarah bring this captivating collection to life in the Museum of Glass Hot Shop, where she will be the resident artist February 5 – 9.

Sarah will conclude her residency with an artist talk in the Hot Shop on Sunday, February 9 at 2 pm. Sarah’s work will be on display in August at the University of Puget Sound’s Kittredge Gallery.

“Thank you, Ebenezer” is currently available for purchase through an online auction: Sarah donated the piece to raise funds for the Greater Metro Parks Foundation.

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About the Author

Founder and Co-Managing Editor at Post Defiance, Katy writes and fundraises for Tacoma. Follow her @katynicoud.

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