And in nearly 50 years of creating glass mosaics, he has never sliced a finger open.
“I just love working with glass,” he said.
“And I love sharing that passion with people who come to visit the Glass Mosaic Gallery at my home.”
Strickland’s works include colorful, intricate framed pieces. The topics include bicycles (his favorite mode of transportation), landscapes, portraits, animals, religious symbols and more.
Strickland’s current project is an imposing five-foot-high portable wall whose panels feature the four seasons. He’s finished two seasons and is now focused on getting winter done.
His most popular works are vivid candleholders, which come in two styles: round and triangular.
“You’d think that making candleholders would get old, but it never does,” said the Tra verse City native, who takes about 10 hours to make a round candleholder. “I do five at a time, kind of like an arty assembly line, but I love it.”
HOW I GOT STARTED
My first glass mosaic was done while I was a junior in high school. I owe it all to Mrs. Potts, my art teacher. It was in 1965 and I dedicated the piece to my parents, Ray and Caremen Strickland.
After college came a stint in the Army, and traveling around Europe for a year. Then I returned home to T.C. and worked passionately on my art. It is always a work in progress.
THE STORY BEHIND MY ART, MY INSPIRATION
My art form of glass mosaics originates from a desire and commitment to transform a ‘concept’ into a ‘tangible reality.’ Frequently my inspiration stems from a particular subject or theme, and on other occasions my imagination is fueled by the scale of a project or dominant color scheme. All of these components influence the direction each piece takes, and all of them make a mosaic.
WORK I’M MOST PROUD OF
That would have to be a piece I did for a local church, Faith Reformed Church. It was a picture of a very large cross. Everybody in the congregation helped with the picture by bringing in a piece of glass and gluing it on the piece. When the cross was filled in, I finished the background and completed/framed the mosaic so they could hang it up in the window.
YOU WON’T BELIEVE
That after all of these years creating glass mosaics, I still love what I do. Some of my favorite bicycle pieces were done for the late John F. Kennedy Jr., who sent me a nice letter thanking me for the gift. I’m curious whatever happened to that piece and where it is now. I’ve also done bicycle works for Lance Armstrong and Greg Lemond, for his restaurant in Wisconsin.
MY FAVORITE ARTIST
I have no particular favorite but I enjoy and am inspired by all glass artists. Whether it is hand-blown, fused, beadwork, sculpture, or other mosaics, they all inspire me.
ADVICE FOR ASPIRING YOUNG ARTISTS
Be passionate about your art no matter what medium you choose. Work on it every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time. It will keep you thinking about your art. That way you will stay excited about the artwork…the colors to use, the design, and the completion.
I have found that it helps to have all the materials you are going to use out and ready at all times, whether it’s in an extra room or on a table. That way you won’t lose interest. When you are inspired you just want to keep going.
MY WORK CAN BE SEEN/PURCHASED
I have participated in many shows and have done several commissioned pieces as well, which can be seen at the Old Town Playhouse, Faith Reformed Church, and several restaurants. Locally my work can be seen at The Candle Factory, Cogs Creek Gallery, at my Glass Mosaic Gallery or visit www.glassmosaicgallery.com.