Kimberly Bylo

fistful-of-tigers-photography-love-life-live-life-8498Growing up I didn't really know I was an artist. I tried lots of different things to try to fit in, and still felt like I was missing something. I love a lot of things about the small town in Ohio that I grew up in, but the arts weren't emphasized much at all. In fact my school had only one art teacher for both the elementary and connecting high school. Still, I was alway creative and spent plenty of time in our pole barn up cycling old furniture, trying my hand at making clothes for myself, and of course I experimented with lots of Manic Panic hair dye. My red and blonde pinwheel hairstyle was my absolute favorite! I made my first piece of jewelry when I was about eleven. It was a braided hemp bracelet with beads and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I would easily stay up until two o’clock in the morning making necklaces for myself as a quiet hobby as a teenager, and continued to teach myself various jewelry making techniques well into my adult life. I learned most of what I know about jewelry making from library books and lots and lots of practice.

In a roundabout way, and nineteen, I ended up at Hunter College in New York City thinking I wanted to be a social worker. When I arrived in New York to go to college I took an art class on a whim as an elective, thinking it would be fun. Two things happened at that point that changed my life, and set me on the journey I’ve been on since. First, I realized I had a creative life inside me that was real and I had to get it out. Second, I learned art was a thing you could study and pursue as an adult. I felt like all the planets aligned and I finally figured out who I was. After getting a B.F. A. at Hunter and living in New York for ten years I decided to move to Gatlinburg, TN to become a part of the historic Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community. I opened my jewelry shop in Gatlinburg in 2010.

It wasn't until after I invested in a fine art degree that I was introduced to glass fusing by my mom. Truthfully in the beginning I was not very interested in it. I felt like it was my mom’s thing, and I couldn’t find my vision in the medium. I was all about fine art, color, and abstract painting. The intensity and variety of color in glass kept me intrigued though, and who doesn’t like using 1500 degrees of heat to melt stuff! It is pretty cool. As I started to get a lot more comfortable with the medium, I started to look at what I was doing in glass as miniature compositions in color. I like to make jewelry that is fun, has a daring element, but is also clean, balanced, and grounded. Color is always my jump off point…Dynamic funky designs follow, and from there I chisel, wrap, and put the finishing touches in place. In the end, there is a beautiful, sparkly treasure made. Fused glass jewelry has become a super popular medium, but still people tell me often that my dichroic jewelry is some of the prettiest and unique they have seen. I make pendants, earrings, bracelets, and ornaments that are all one of a kind. Aside from the discovery in making each piece, my favorite thing about crafted these treasures is watching a person smile when they try one on.

Fused Glass

fistful-of-tigers-photography-love-life-live-life-8809 Fused Glass is a warm glass technique that uses a kiln to manipulate glass at temperatures between 1100 degrees and 1550 degrees. I primarily focus on tack fusing and full fusing. A tack fuse is created by layering cuts of glass and heating them to about 1450 degrees. As a tack fuse cools you are left with a textural piece of glass where the individual character of each piece of glass really shines. A full fuse is heated to 1550 degree and creates a seamlessly smooth multicolored piece of glass. There are many different types of glass and techniques within the fusing medium that can really transform the look of your finished product. Dichroic glass is perhaps the most eye catching of all the different types of fusible glass. Dichroic glass is beautiful glass that is coated with metal oxides, which gives it an iridescent quality that is very much like an opal. Each piece I create is unique and one of a kind.