As a child, glass artist Anna Lee Chalos-McAleese loved blowing soap bubbles in the backyard or watching rain droplets roll down the sides of a clear vinyl umbrella. That fascination with transparency of light and movement ultimately inspired her to create art out of glass.
“My media in graduate school was mainly acrylic sheeting that I cold-constructed and also formed with heat,” says Anna Lee, who earned a master’s degree in fine arts with a focus on sculpture in 1978 from Indiana State University. “The next step was to move into glass at the first opportunity.”
That opportunity finally presented itself in 2004 when Anna Lee enrolled in glass classes at the Indianapolis Art Center, where she received instruction in the fine art of custom glass design by fellow Indiana Artisan Lisa Pelo.
Working as an art education teacher in the Vigo County School Corporation, Anna Lee excelled at glass art-making and her work was featured in a solo exhibition at the art center. After receiving a Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Renewal Grant, she pursued further training in glass art at the prestigious Corning Studio in New York City, and later at the Bullseye Glass Center in Portland, Oregon.
“Transparent media and a full spectrum of colored glass delights me to no end,” Anna Lee says. “I like having the knowledge to cold-work glass or fuse as the design dictates.”
Today, Anna Lee uses the intricate patterns of every plowed farm field in Indiana to help shape her glass art designs.
“At this point in my career, I enjoy the freedom of being influenced by our fields, architecture and industrial landscapes while designing artwork,” she says. “The geometry that surrounds us daily also affects me deeply.”
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