Barbara Westfall

A long time ago, I gave up a career in banking and traded it for a two degrees in art. I trained with inspiring faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, home of the nation’s first university-based studio program in art glass. I earned a BFA, MFA and served the University of Wisconsin-Platteville as assistant professor of art through 2014. I studied drawing in Los Angeles, California, served on the Pasadena Arts Council and taught art in Wisconsin K-8 schools for 15 years.

I design and build kiln formed art glass for display on walls, tables and in large environments. Hundreds of pieces of art glass are cut by hand from large sheets, using a small hand held rotary tool. The pieces of glass are layered, stacked and melted in a kiln to varying temperatures to get desired effects. Many of my designs integrate other media, including laser-cut metal and hand carved wood.
My mother taught me art is beautiful, necessary and encouraged my creativity. My father was a design builder in the Chicago area. I grew up with blueprints on the dining room table, seeing people make things by hand and the belief that everything is renewable and capable of transformation.
I draw inspiration to create art from the abundance of nature that surrounds my home and studio which overlooks the Sugar River watershed in southwestern Wisconsin. The plants, rivers, lakes and ecosystem where I live and have traveled are a constant source of joy. My creative process is intrinsically woven into my day-to-day interactions with the natural world and my art reflects the multitude of beauty, awe and feelings nature evokes.

Aquatic Rhythm, fused glass, shell, carved cedar and willow on painted wood

Freshwater Passageways, fused glass, stainless steel, on painted wood

Tidal Progression, fused glass

Underwater Melody, fused glass, shell, carved cedar and willow on painted wood