The Beaufort Art Association’s first 2023 featured artist Sharon Cooper was born and raised in the Philadelphia, PA, area. She graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and later completed her Master’s Degree in Anesthesia. After working many years in the operating room at a large University hospital, her career led her to the homecare field, where she worked clinically in the area of specialty infusion pharmacy work.

As a child growing up, she was always fascinated with stained glass windows in the church she attended and, after retirement, pursued the beauty, detail and colors of stained glass.

Stained/Mosaic glass as an art form dates back to the early 17th century. The history, colors and luminous quality of glass are the reasons Sharon was drawn to this art form. As with all mediums, there has been an evolution in style, techniques and material that makes it possible to create new looks for stained glass.

Sharon’s initial endeavors in stained glass involved more simple, traditional versions. But new techniques today provide the ability to transform images into new expressions of mosaic glass art. Sharon’s study of images of natural beauty has been reinterpreted into glass mosaic form.

The mosaic versions abandon the traditional leaded outlines, transitioning away from the more ecclesiastic feelings typically associated with stained glass. Her process relies on the artist’s technical skills to individually cut each piece of glass, using a brush stroke form or small geometric shapes to create an image. Although many of the tools of the trade remain historically the same, new versions of glass cutters, nippers, as well as specialty glass grinders and tweezers, cover Sharon’s work table. The resulting materials are referred to as tessera.

Shading and three-dimensional quality is achieved by combining similar tones and textures of glass. The process is labor-intensive and requires time and patience.

Sharon loves the flora and fauna found in the natural habitat of her new home in South Carolina. Birds, flowers and grasses are the inspiration for her latest work. She can always be found in her studio, working on existing projects or experimenting with new methods of glass as an art form.

Come meet the artist at a reception on Friday, January 6 from 5-8pm at the Gallery of the Beaufort Art Association, 913 Bay Street, downtown Beaufort, under the black awning.