Garrett Sadler’s philosophy is a simple one.
“Anyone can do art,” the Charlotte resident said. “If you told me 20 years ago that I’d be a glass artist I would have laughed, but it’s important to be creative in ways that work for you.”
Sadler went through a number of careers including advertising, nonprofit fundraising, and landscape design before entering the high-tech world. She started her own software company and went to work for IBM. In 2007 she had the option of a transfer or layoff and she chose the latter. At the age of 40, Sadler’s partner Sue White decided to go to medical school, so Sadler looked for something she could do to help out while also trying searching for a creative outlet for herself.
She started with a class in stained glass but that didn’t really grab her. Next she tried fused glass and was almost immediately hooked, taking a series of classes in Western New York from master artists.
Sadler’s father had collected pressed glass from the late 1800s and she had a small collection of Depression-era glass, both reasons why she gravitated to that medium. She avoided blowing glass because of the heat, noise and danger. “Fused glass is great because you can spend time mulling over what to do with the material and when you take it out of the kiln, it’s something completely different,” Sadler said. “It’s Christmas morning each time you open the kiln.”
Today, Sadler’s work is sold in Lennox, Mass., where she used to live, and some is currently on exhibit at the Furchgott Sourdiffe Gallery in Shelburne.
Three years ago, she submitted a piece for a juried show in Taos and was awarded Best Functional Glass, although she confesses that her functional pieces are usually more decorative than functional.
She took time off from her artwork when she and White moved to Charlotte a little over a year ago, and is happy to be back in the studio. “I’m able to create patterns that are pleasing to me,” she said. “It’s almost like making a jigsaw puzzle without a pattern. It’s very peaceful.”
At home Sadler is “chief cook and bottle washer,” now that White is working as a physician.
When she’s not creating glass pieces, Sadler enjoys gardening, hiking, cycling and cross-country skiing.
Sadler is content with her production pace and has no desire to increase her output.
“I don’t want to be a production house,” she said. “I don’t want to have employees. I want this to continue to be a source of enrichment and peace.”
While Sadler enjoys meeting deadlines for commissioned work, she doesn’t want the stress of needing to produce a particular number of pieces. “I wouldn’t mind being in another gallery,” she said, “but I don’t want that to be the focus of my work because it can be distracting.”
As a result, Sadler spends about half her time on her art and stresses that people who want to be artists shouldn’t think that they need to do it full-time or make a living at it. “You can do it an hour a week,” she said. “If you go to your studio and love what you do, your studio will love you back.”