Meet Carey Gustafson of Ferndale, MI, the creative mind behind Glass Action! Carey combines traditional stained glass fabrication techniques with her own modern spin in the look, feel, materials, and humor of her work. She began working as a stained glass apprentice after high school, and worked in several shops until branching out on her own with her current line of nightlights, jewelry, accessories, and more. Carey is also a co-founder of Handmade Detroit, the collective that produces the fabulous Detroit Urban Craft Fair each December.What do you remember wanting to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a famous artist. And something involved with rock stars / pop culture. It's so funny - I went to College for Creative Studies for an open house. You bring your portfolio of work and have it reviewed by their staff. I brought so many rock star drawings and sketches. I was gently told it wasn't quite right, yet that's how I've been making my current living - making portraits of rock stars and all kinds of people, in glass!What inspired you to start creating your artwork & how did you turn it into a business?
The same year I bought a house, I was laid off. I had a basement studio and decided to "step it up." As a co-founder of Handmade Detroit, I was able to help bring a crafty made market to metro Detroit. Selling at bars, stores, pop-ups, and festivals, you get yourself out there and pray for word of mouth!What do you most love about the creative process?
Many, many things. The excitement of the BIG IDEA revealing itself to you. I'm addicted to that. Always learning. Mastering a technique or figuring something out - doing it in a better or more efficient way. Selling the first of a new design. It's such a thrill to at the very least TRY to making a living at what you love. If you're lucky enough to figure out what exactly you are best at, you have to try it.
Do you have any notable awards or accomplishments?
My work has been featured on Conan, and my stained glass portrait of Conan O'Brien still ranks in the top 3 on his website!
Until a few years ago I would keep myself busy playing music out in our wonderful music community in Detroit. Now I'm a proud mother of a three year old, and my daughter and I keep each other busy and entertained!
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