Paradise Art Glass, the studio of glass artist Shannon Muse, sits in one of Carbondale’s old neighborhoods under cathedral-like canopies of 100-year-old elms. To the south, Muse’s “Pillars of Light” grace the town library. To the north, her seven chakra pieces glow from within the gardens of True Nature Healing Arts. How must it feel to live and work between two such landmarks?
Visiting Muse’s studio is an experience. Her works-in-progress speak of gypsies, of industry, of roots in the land. One feels whimsy, magic, genius. The bone yard of materials stacked and stored include steel parts, found objects and salvaged bits that fuel creative impulse. Her medium stretches beyond glass; perhaps it’s light.
Drawn to archetypes, to the feminine and to spirit, Muse leads the visitor from piece to piece, gleefully unveiling what she has learned in fabricating each one.
Via her artistic evolution, Muse continues to delve into the mystical human experience. Not satisfied to simply create, she shares her knowledge and invests in others. Leo Johnson has been learning from Muse for several years, and he is instrumental in creating many Paradise Art Glass pieces.
Throughout the studio one finds the play of light. It sparkles from Muse and radiates from her body language as she’s barely able to contain her enthusiasm. It shines in her eyes, in her grin. To see an artist that unabashedly excited about her own work is a joy.
After a scintillating studio tour, Roaring Fork Lifestyle coaxed Muse to alight and answer some questions about her work.
What brought you to our valley?
I was born here and have several generations of ancestors who were farmers and ranchers.
Describe your art.
Here at Paradise Art Glass, my assistant, Leo Johnson and I, use glass and steel to create sculpture and art glass panels for private homes, sacred spaces and public places.
What inspires your art?
Nature, color and imbibing a place with atmosphere are important. I often have a desire to express universal ideas such as beauty, communion and expansion.
What is the concept behind it?
Light and the experience of an art piece that is alive with the interaction of time and place.
What piece are you most proud of and why?
My most recent piece, “Seeds,” is a culmination of a long-term dream. It represents the story of potential and how it becomes real in our lives.
Where can people view your art?
My work can be found at the Toklat Gallery in Basalt, at the Carbondale Branch Library, in the lobby of the Forest Service headquarters in Glenwood Springs, at the Valley View Hospital Cancer Center Chapel (seven panels), at St. Mary of the Crown Catholic Church in Carbondale, at St. Mary’s Parrish Catholic Church in Rifle, at True Nature Healing Arts in Carbondale and at the Launchpad in Carbondale (glass and steel sculpture on the south side of the building). It can also be seen in my Carbondale studio by appointment: 970.319.1939.