Langley City stained glass artist Carrie-Lynn Gutowski said she lucked out when it came to her spot as a vendor at last year’s Arts Alive Festival.
“This is our second year. We attended it before, but last year, I was squeezed in after I applied right when another vendor dropped out,” Gutowski recalled. “I sent some pictures of my work and got a response right away saying ‘we want you to come’.”
Gutowski’s experience in the annual festival was such a positive one, she’s back again this coming Saturday to show the city her vibrant work alongside a full street of local artisans, photographers, and craft-sellers.
“There’s not a lot of us left,” Gutowski said about the state of stained glass art. For her, it’s the freedom of creativity and the technique that has kept her going with it for the past three decades.
“You can literally do anything mathematically. Really, it’s just simple math and so neat connecting with people about geometric shapes. It’s just a lot of fun doing it,” she explained.
Gutowski got into stained glass art through her husband and mother-in-law. She began her business, Reflecting Nature, in the late nineties, which has taken different forms all over the continent including her home in Ontario, San Diego, and even Hawaii.
Nonchalant over the seemingly complex process, Gutowski said making stained glass is surprisingly easy. “You really just incorporate wire, cut the glass, and wrap a thin layer of copper around. The you do crazy gluing with metal and then clean and polish.”
What sets Gutowski’s work apart is her three dimensional designs – specifically prisms – that can be hung just about anywhere as a decorative fixture.
“I do hummingbirds, dragonflies, catfish, turtles – a lot of inspiration with nature and nature scenes like sea-scapes. Kaleidoscopes too which you don’t see around very often anymore,” Gutowski said. “My kids are all creative and help with designs.”
It can be a challenge these days to find the right material, Gutowski said since Fort Langley’s store closed down a few years back, she’s had to go sometimes all the way to Victoria to get her glass.
But she is also on the road every weekend selling her wares across the Lower Mainland. “We do everything… Chilliwack, Yarrow, Cultus, East Van… I was just in West Van last weekend.”
Despite the wide variety of markets, shows, and fests, Gutowski said Arts Alive is a one-of-a-kind celebration.
“Arts Alive is the kind of show we would do down in California. It’s an amazing show and I wish more cities did shows like this,” she added.
Arts Alive is completely free and runs non-stop between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. along the Fraser one-way in Langley City between 204 and 206 Streets.
People can visit Gutowski and 150 other artists and small businesses this Saturday or visit her business’s website www.reflectingnature.ca in the meantime.
“I just want to make people happy with it and provide unique art to other people,” said Gutowski.
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