Sue Rankin Glass Artist

“Life is short – find something handmade, with a story.”

Take a walk through the grounds at Maryboro Lodge: The Fenelon Museum, and your eyes will be drawn to a grove of “trees” comprised of slender metal trunks adorned with colourful opaque glass discs which catch the light. The columns comprising “River Grove” sway gently in the light breeze coming off the canal, beckoning you to come closer.

Such is the magic created by renowned Apsley glass artist Sue Rankin.

Rankin has been working with glass “all my life”, surrendering to the allure of hot glass some 35 years ago. 

“It’s an interesting material – it cools, gets cold, but never really transitions into another form. You heat sand, add a little ash and feldspar and there you have it – this process hasn’t changed in 5,000 years. Working with it is fun, it’s challenging, it’s fluid.”

And it keeps her busy – her 200-pound pot furnace runs non-stop at 2100F from September until June as she creates pieces for exhibitions, art shows, studio tours and commissions. 

Her current project is the creation of a seven-grove, thirty-six column installation at the Centre for the Spirit – a healing facility which is part of the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. All the treatment rooms look out over the gardens, providing cancer patients with beauty and calm as they undergo treatment. 

Having worked remotely on this six-month project, Rankin will travel to Phoenix in this fall so she can oversee the set-up of the installation; all as she works on another commission destined for Maine.

Of course, the upcoming season will see her at various shows and festivals as well as the Apsley Fall Studio Tour, which means she has been busy creating pieces for these events. 

Rankin’s works have been exhibited throughout Canada and the US, as well as Belgium and parts of Asia, and have been the subject in dozens of publications. She has also been an instructor in the Glass Certificate Program at Fleming College’s Haliburton School of the Arts since 2005.

Commenting on the last two years, Rankin says “The pandemic has taught us that it is one’s environment which gives the most joy. My surroundings inspire me – the columns live harmoniously within the gardens and the forest, and they invite us to celebrate the joy that living with sculpture and art brings to a life.”

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