Blue Blazes Glass
● By Style
Photo by Dante Fontana
It is the facets in the glass that capture the light and make it dance.
This is what sets Gary McAnally’s remarkably beautiful art apart from the rest. Unlike normal 1/8-inch stained glass, the Dalle de Verre (French for slab of glass) technique utilizes glass that is nearly one-inch thick to reflect the light. The richness of the colors and the ability to set the glass into a wide variety of installations is what is so inspiring about this versatile art form.
McAnally, owner and artist of Blue Blazes Glass fell in love with the medium in the summer of 2002. “I saw a piece in a book,” McAnally explains, “and I was hooked.” So smitten, just six months later he was attending a class at Blenko Glass Company in Milton, West Virginia. Blenko is one of the few manufactures of the special glass needed for his art. “The glass is very robust and structural,” McAnally says. He cuts the glass into the desired shapes, chips the facets into the surface and then sets the pieces into handmade molds. Then, he pours an epoxy glue mix to hold the pieces in shape. This process can take weeks. “To make a finished piece, you have to stay focused and have tons of patience,” McAnally shares.
During several business trips as vice-president for an electronics company, he was able to visit numerous world famous Dalle de Verre installations. While in France in 2005, he visited the grandson of the master of the process, Gabriel Loire, in the lovely town of Chartres. Earlier this year, he satisfied a longtime wish and stood in the Hakone Open Air Museum in Hakone, Japan. The inspiration of these two events really encouraged him to dive further into his art. “It is the sparkle in the glass that turns me on,” McAnally says.
After 30 years living in the southwestern town of Tucson, Arizona, McAnally moved to northern California with his company – first landing in the Bay Area and then up to Auburn before settling in Roseville. His 1,800-square-foot studio is also located in Roseville and is open by appointment only.
He worked for years in a tiny corner of his garage and knew if he wanted to grow his craft he needed a proper workspace. In June of 2011, he quit his electronics job and now his days are devoted full-time to his artwork.
Thanks, love and faith are strong beliefs for McAnally. Long before The Secret was introduced to the world, there were many sayings that inspired the book’s message, “if you ask for something and believe, it will come…you will receive it.” The Apostle Matthew wrote: “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” McAnally believes in this force wholeheartedly. He has designed many striking pieces that display his faith in knowing that if you start something and believe in it, the resources will come your way to make it happen.
For more information, visit blueblazesglass.com.