“In The Kiln”

What are Some of Our 3-D Artists Creating?

Many artists all around the world are making great use of the extra studio time during this COVID-19 pandemic.  Desert Artisans’ artists here in Tucson, Arizona are no exception.

If you have subscribed to Desert Artisans’ Gallery’s enewsletter, then you already saw some of the artwork in progress by our amazing Tucson artists as they create beautiful and whimsical paintings.  If you missed it, consider subscribing to future enewsletter on the “Contact Us” page of our website.  Or read it now: “On the Easel”

But what are our 3-D sculptural, ornamental and jewelry artists working on?  I entitled this blog, “In the Kiln” to check in on a couple of our gallery artists working in clay and glass, Clydean Troner & Nancy Cressler.

Clydean Troner, one of our clay artists, joined Desert Artisans’ Gallery in 2016. She is currently serving as the Gallery’s President.

Clydean Troner’s impressive Owl Totem

During this ‘shelter in place’ period, Clydean has been working on a series of totems, some for the garden, and some for table-top display.

This table-top piece is a stylized tree with a bird; it is in two pieces, and the top has some leaves cut out to give additional dimension. After a bisque firing, (left picture) it was glazed and after the final firing, the finished piece is shown on the right. Wow!

The photo on the left shows various cute clay components which will be assembled in a garden totem featuring three rabbits in different poses with various pieces separating them. Clydean says, “Rabbits are one of my favorite subjects and I haven’t come close to running out of ideas!” The right photo shows some of her little critters nestled in the kiln ready for the next step.


Also working “In The Kiln” is glass artist Nancy Cressler, who is a long-time member of Desert Artisans’ Gallery.  She is currently working on a series of hand-painted floral heart ornaments.  Nancy paints the glass with a  permanent product created by Margot Clark, in an artistic technique known as “Mudding”. She finds this technique to be very relaxing and rewarding.

These hearts are two layers of glass fused together at approximately 1360 degrees. There is a copper wire which serves as a hanger as well as a design element running the length of the heart.

Glass hearts ready for the second firing

The hearts were smoothed on a lapidary wheel after the first firing. Then Nancy fires them for a second time to round the edges. The firing renders the “mud” painted design permanent. When finished, these glass hearts will be strung with beads or crystals to be displayed in a sunny window.


There will be so much new and innovative artwork by our Tucson artists to check out when the gallery reopens!  I am not alone in anxiously awaiting that time.  We hope you will stay healthy and stay connected with Desert Artisans’ Gallery.



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