Fun With Fused Glass

The artist Indigo, aka Suzanne Baptiste, creates vibrantly beautiful and useful fused glass pieces in her Berkeley studio.


Photo by Lance Yamamoto

Suzanne Baptiste has had many professions—chef, teacher, hearing instrument specialist. But in 2013, at the age of 50, she set off on the career path she least expected: artist.

“My father was against art as a profession, because it didn’t do anything to put food on the table,” said the artist, who is better known in the Bay Area as Indigo. His influence stuck with her into adulthood until a trip to Murano, Italy, where she was mesmerized by the famed artists blowing glass there. Indigo was instantly hooked. “I had never been artistic or cared about art before, because I thought it was frivolous. So when I felt so passionate about this, it was really like falling in love.”

When she returned to the East Bay, she enrolled in classes at Glass Hand Studio in Alameda and Studio One Art Center in Oakland. Before she knew it, she decided to build her own studio in Berkeley.

The culmination of her passion and drive is Warm Glass Flow, named for the process of fusing layers of glass together and molding it into shape while the glass is in its most pliable state. Visitors to the Warm Glass Flow website will find playfully designed plates and bowls, including Indigo’s personal favorite and most requested—a red and black bowl. All pieces are designed with colors so vibrant it’s tough to imagine using them as serving vessels, even for the most delicious of dishes. But Indigo made it clear they are suitable for such use. “It’s because of my anti-art upbringing. They are designed to be fun but functional,” she said.

Indigo sells her pieces—which range from $10 coasters and $15 shallow dishes to $30 plates and $50 bowls—during First Fridays at Uptown Body & Fender. Pieces are also available directly from her website. While customers can make certain requests, each piece is made individually and is therefore one of a kind.

“I’m always pushing myself to grow as an artist. There is a kind of similarity to a person’s work, but I never want to get in a rut.” A rut? That seems impossible.

Published online on Oct. 18, 2016 at 8:00 a.m.

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