Joy of Glass

Joy of Glass

About The Artist

Merrilee Harrigan • Washington, DC

My goal is to make people happy through beautiful art. I begin my jewelry by creating stunning glass cabochons, incorporating dichroic glass, gold foil, and silver inclusion. I then let the glass tell me what kind of a setting will best set off and complement it to create a work of meaning and beauty. I especially love integrating the bail into the design of the piece, as when I use silver tubing within a pendant to carry the chain.


Artist website

Q&A with the Artist

Tell us how your work is made.

I make the glass for my jewelry using kilns, grinders, drills etc. I also incorporate silver from my silversmithing into the glass art that I make. I use traditional silversmithing techniques to make the silver and gold settings, using Argentium Sterling silver for the ability to fuse instead of solder, and for its tarnish resistant and hypo allergenic properties. I delight in designing creative ways to carry the chain, such as curving silver tubing around the glass.

What makes you passionate about the medium you work with?

I love the beauty and magic of glass -- how it reveals depth and pattern as well as brilliant color. I love experimenting to find new ways to create beauty, such as fusing silver filings into glass (oh, the art and chemistry involved in creating glass and silver!). And it makes me happy to design new ways to manipulate silver and gold to create exquisite, wearable art.

What is something unique about you or your practice?

My jewelry is unique in two ways: first it always includes glass and precious metals, and second that I combine those elements in one-of-a-kind designs. That ability to innovate and create unexpected beauty is at the essence of my creativity and my joy. (It is not an accident that I named my company "Joy of Glass"). In addition, after a career in clean energy/environmental education, I live my values by powering my studio with solar energy and teaching adults and children how to work with glass. I have happily been able to "hook" many of them on the creative pleasure of working with this amazing medium!