By Ann Leach
Have you heard that saying “If you know, you know”? Well, Jane McCaulley knew early in her life that the artist’s path was hers to walk.
“I remember as a small child, I was making things and doodling,” she said. “I made things from scraps that my dad had from remodeling our home. I cut things out of magazines and put them back together. I always wanted to do art.”
Fast forward to today, and you can find McCaulley’s fused glass art for purchase at Local Color Gallery, the Spiva Center for the Arts gift shop and at the Webb City Farmers Market around the holidays. She also teaches her technique at Spiva Center for the Arts and Local Color and during art camps at Carthage’s artCentral.
McCaulley describes her technique as “pretty simple,” explaining, “I take an object and simplify it so it’s possible to cut it out of glass. I can also paint onto glass, which can be a little more detailed. I work with mosaics, which are glued to a surface, and now I mostly do fused glass. This is cutting glass from large sheets, layering it and then fusing or melting it together in a kiln, usually at around 1430-1460°. It can take as much as 24 hours for some pieces.”
A weekend retreat for art teachers hosted by the Art Education Association of Indiana is where McCaulley was first introduced to glass as an art medium. “That was 20 years ago,” she said. “And the first time I cut a piece of glass, I was hooked.”
McCaulley taught elementary art for 35 years in Indiana and said she is still influenced by the work the thousands of her students created in her classroom. She is also inspired by nature and God’s creation. “I believe my ability to work and create with glass is a gift from God,” she said. “I like the scripture that states ‘Every good and perfect gift is from above.’”
But there are still challenges in the work. McCaulley cited making multiples of things for sale. She is excited by a new design, but “after six or more of something, I find myself making little changes to keep going without getting bored. I made 66 dogs for the Georgia Humane Society, and that was definitely pushing it.”
McCaulley works from her home studio in the large, finished basement. “We moved to Missouri 14 years ago and the house had an unfinished basement at the time. It was perfect for a large studio.” This year, the space will continue to support her artistic goals. “I am always looking for new techniques and new products,” she said. “I will also be taking more classes both online and in person.”
The reward for the long workdays is the feedback she receives from her buyers. “It makes me so happy when people tell me they bought some of my art and how much they like it or where they hung it or who they gifted it to,” she said. “That still amazes me and pleases me to no end.”