Rosemary Cheslock is one of over 20 artists whose work is featured at Flat River Gallery and Framing. She has been with the cooperative for just under a year. Cheslock has lived in the Grand Rapids area since 1975. She and her husband, Mike, have two married children and four grandchildren. After retiring four years ago, the couple enjoys traveling when Cheslock isn’t creating pieces of art.
Interest in Art
Cheslock started in mosaics and moved to stained glass before finding an interest in glass beads. While she was in a glass store a demonstration on glass bead making was going on. She signed up for a class to learn the process and has been hooked ever since. She also joined a group of other bead makers which gathers once a month to share information on their medium.
Cheslock specializes in creating glass beads and enamel on copper which are incorporated into jewelry. Creating the beads involves using a torch, which is hooked up to oxygen and propane, to melt rods of glass on a steel mandrel. The glass is melted and shaped prior to being placed in a kiln where it spends an hour cooking at 980 degrees. Sifting powdered glass onto pieces of copper and melting it with a torch or in a kiln is the process of enameling.
These lampwork (glass) beads and enamel are then turned into a variety of items including bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and pendants – all of which are available for sale at the gallery. One of Cheslock’s favorite pieces to make are glass heart necklaces, also seen at the gallery.
Cheslock is also a guest artist at JSD Studio in Grand Haven where she teaches a beginning enameling classes and sells her jewelry. Additionally, she is a member of Rogue River Artists and participates in member shows a few times a year.
Creating Glass Bead and Enamel
Cheslock has been creating glass beads for two decades. While the enamel process is new to her, she finds that to be her favorite aspect of her craft to work with at the moment. “There are so many enamel different processes, I like just playing around with all of them.” she remarks. With lots of experimentation, Cheslock has been able to discover what works out, sometimes as a “happy accident”. And when something doesn’t work out as planned she can hammer the enamel off the copper and try again.
Beads can be challenging according to Cheslock. “You have to make sure that you keep the heat consistent in the flame, while adding decorations and shaping the bead before you put it into the kiln.” she says of the process. If something is amiss, stress fractures can appear which in turn will make the bead break. Additionally, working with so many different kinds of glass can be challenging. Some glass is reactive so the color can change as it cools off, sometimes resulting in an unexpected shade. Reflecting on the art, Cheslock says, “It is a learning process and one think it has taught me is patience.” When working with enamel, a final color can be changed by adding in different colors as needed. It cools down quickly so results can be seen right away.
While she is a relative newcomer to Flat River Gallery and Framing, Cheslock is happy to be part of the family of artists involved at the location. She comments, “I was honored to be selected to join Flat River Gallery and Framing and to be among so many award winning artists. I have met so many great people and love talking to customers who stop into the gallery about the other artists and about my work.”
Those visiting the gallery are invited to take a look at products by Cheslock. She is also on social media, having Facebook and Instagram accounts under Glass Eye Butterfly where photos of her jewelry and show information can be found.
Photos courtesy of Rosemary Cheslock and used with permission.