Behind the Glass: An Afternoon with Artist & Entrepreneur Courtney Gray of grayc glass

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An Afternoon with Artist & Entrepreneur Courtney Gray

To say that I had a good time spending an afternoon in the studio with Courtney Gray–the artist and entrepreneur behind gracyc glass–would be an understatement. Courtney is warm, effervescent, smart and talented. Did I mention she is hysterical? I felt like I had known her for years within minutes of meeting her. Courtney showed me around her home studio; being based at home is her practical solution for staying in touch with family life, while still having the opportunity for late-hour artistic inspirations.  Courtney is based in Chico, Northern California, and has garnered quite a following in the community and beyond.

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Courtney is a fused-glass artist who uses a kiln to fuse the glass, which is later shaped over a mold. Her creations range from her initial breakout with themed night lights, to ring holders, custom wall sconces and jewelry–rings, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. Her favorite shades of glass are inspired by the sea. Courtney collects vintage elements–beads and chains–to create unique, one-of-a-kind pieces.

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Inspiration boards always fascinate me; they tell a unique, visual story about the creator. Courtney has a few of her favorite inspirations tacked up above her work station. I spotted ornate architectural elements, luxurious textures, global glamor, surfer chic, a cozy sweater with a ponytail, a quote about hard work and perseverance…and cookies. This inspiration board feels spot on for Courtney and her eclectic mix of styles.

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The wall sconces are Courtney’s favorite pieces to design.  They are spectacular!  I’m just sure we will be seeing her custom fused-glass lighting fixtures in Architectural Digest magazine some day. #dreamscometrue

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Interview:

*What inspires you to be creative?

I work really hard at being creative. I am more of a business mind than an artist mind, so for me, creativity is part of my job. I make time for it and work hard on it. These days there is so much more inspiration out there in terms of finding design and pattern inspiration (thanks to the internet and Pinterest, etc.) I am constantly collecting ideas that inspire my work. I find inspiration in textiles and ceramics and clothing. I try to keep up with seasonal trends and colors, but in the end, I make what I love and it usually works out for me.

*How did you get started with your form of art?

I took a glass fusing class when I was at UC Davis, just for fun. The nightlights are what really made my business take off.

 

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*How did it feel to take the plunge and do what you love full-time?

Well, I am lucky in that my husband is our main provider, so I never had to leave a great paying job to try and make grayc glass happen. I gradually built it year after year, and then, when all of my boys were in school full-time, I decided to see if I could make some “real money” (relative term!) at it. I am happy that I am doing better than I ever thought I could with this business.

*How do you balance creativity/artistry with the entrepreneurial side of your business?

I love the entrepreneurial side just as much as the art side of my business. I feel so lucky to be able to be home with my kids, do what I love, and grow a business that brings in money for my family. I think I am doing what so many women would do if they could. Also, It is easy for me because there is a bottom line: in order for me to continue to do what I love, I have to make money.

*How do you keep your inspiration going?

I make time to research trend and color forecasting…constantly brainstorming things that “speak” to me.

*What is your best advice for someone who is just starting out?

If someone is starting out with the purpose of making money, my advice would be to know the financials of your business. And price your work appropriately. Sometimes women seem to under price themselves–maybe we are just so “damn happy” people are buying what we are making–but if we don’t price it so we can make money, we can’t afford to make it anymore.

*If you could see a celebrity/historical figure wearing your jewelry who would it be (and which piece)?

Oprah!  I have always loved her and have sent my rings to the company a few times. I have not made it into the magazine yet, but they did call me back and said they really liked them. I think it is time I send some more ring samples again!

 

Thank you, Courtney!

 

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Last week I had the pleasure of attending a party at Courtney’s home, where her latest fused glass creations were on display. Her fans were oohing and ahhing over every piece of fused glass eye-candy.

 

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Friends and family joined in for some tasty bites, lovely wines and some shopping. It was so much fun catching up with old friends and making some new ones.

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Courtney’s pieces make beautiful and unique gifts.

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Courtney with her mom, twin sister and niece-true beauties!

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My collection of grayc glass is growing! I was gifted the beautiful necklace by Courtney. I purchased the sea glass nightlight and fused glass ring for myself. The wine charms and ring dish were gifts from dear friends.

See Courtney Gray on the KCRA morning show.

 

Courtney is generously offering readers of Stylemindchic Life a 10% discount on purchases from grayc glass. Jewelry ships FREE which is a great bonus! Use coupon code stylemindchic at checkout.

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Follow grayc glass on Facebook

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Heather Orr Lindstrom Signature

I received a necklace from Courtney Gray and all opinions of grayc glass are my own.

Heather Lindstrom

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15 comments

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Such gorgeous pieces and what a wonderfully talented woman. I am off to look at her site ;-)

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Beautiful jewelry designs Heather. Glass art is so striking. I so appreciate talented women. Regards from Auburn.

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Courtney is adorable! Love her glass art. A truly talented young lady.

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These are gorgeous! I’ll be heading over to shop! I adore unique pieces and costume jewelry is my new favorite collectable.
Have a great week.
XXJennifer

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Thanks Jen! grayc glass is so unique and beautiful. I love the mix of colors Courtney uses in her fused glass pieces. She definitely studies up on trends and new styles. Have fun!
xx

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Heather- I can’t thank u enough for this amazing post- I loved meeting you and look forward to spending more time with you – you are wonderful

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It was my pleasure, Courtney! Spending time with you in the studio and at the party were inspiring. Love your spirit and creativity!
xx

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What a fabulous article about a fabulous event! It was wonderful meeting you and chatting with you that evening and I look forward to seeing you again soon. You really did capture the essence of Courtney’s art in your beautiful pictures and interview!

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That means so much coming from you, Mary. Especially since you have known Courtney since birth. :) It was great fun to write about such a creative, inspiring woman. I also loved spending time with her family and friends at the event. Thanks for all you did to make it so fantastic! Hope to see you again soon!

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What lovely and unique jewelry, Heather. Lots of different colors and designs. I loved browsing through it all.

Enjoy the rest of October, dear. I went to Loomis today……your old neck of the woods. : )

love, ~Sheri

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You are so right, Sheri–unique styles and colors. So much to choose from! How fun that you were in Loomis! I grew up on a hill with a white ranch style house, a white fence all around the property and a 360 degree view (off Wayland Rd.). It’s a beautiful area! Have fun!
xx

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Two wonderful creative business women on one page…a delight! Grayc glass adds style to any outfit and home. Courtney is the best! Love the post Heather. You did forget one other Grayc piece in your collection…the wine charms

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Ahhhh thanks, Mel! You were one of the first to introduce me to grayc glass. Thanks for the intro and the wonderful wine charms (pictured above). They are so unique–love them! xx

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Happy Monday dearest heather. Love glass art! I have a collection from the shores of Massachusetts were we lived. We would collect beach glass on our walks. Much love to you.

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Aren’t Courtney’s designs gorgeous? We LOVE the sea shade inspiration. Your collection sounds beautiful Anita. Hope you are having a wonderful week! xx

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