FERAL STUDIO IS A CONTEMPORARY GLASS DESIGN STUDIO THAT I OWN AND OPERATE IN BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA.
As a creator of custom contemporary stained glass windows, I am an artist, a designer, and a craftsperson. I attune to details – clients’ needs, architectural space, atmosphere, and light – in order to help shape the design of spaces where people live and gather. The pieces I create for homes and businesses are a celebration of individuality, vitality, and craftsmanship.
Stained glass sculpts in light, manipulating and controlling illumination as a character of design. As a medium, it brings together vintage craft and contemporary design. As a material form, it is both incredibly robust and infinitely delicate. As an architectural element, it creates a bridge between outside and inside spaces.
My childhood was all about exploring different worlds. I spent every summer in a 100-year-old farmhouse in Massachusetts, catching snakes, eating wild berries, swimming in the river, picking wildflowers, and going to the country fair. I lived in Washington D.C. the rest of the year, a few blocks from the National Cathedral, which houses over 200 stained glass windows. I remember sneaking into the attic and onto the roof of the cathedral, in awe of the epic light and expanse of space. Navigating between these two worlds and their apparent contradictions was an essential part of my development as both an individual and as an artist.
I embrace and extend contradictions inherent in the stained glass medium through my work, which is at turns tough and fragile, spontaneous and contrived, naive and worldly, deferential and irreverent. Stained glass is an art form laden with traditional associations to churches, kitsch, and hobby art, and is therefore ripe for free play – distortion and sarcasm as well as levity and whimsy. These themes reveal the humour and complexity of experience, creating an honest representation of life and a reflection on how our experiences alter and shape us. Contradictions blend and disappear as they instead form connections and hybrids. My most recent work in animal portraits, flora, and fauna traces the unstable dichotomy between the domestic world, with its interior spaces and family relationships, and the natural world, with the wildness of the outdoors and interspecies diversity. We move freely between these spaces and so do my stained glass works.
Susanna Conaway, Owner