Anne Reigstad went to school in Copenhagen to become a window display designer and then completely detoured into journalism for 25 years in her home country, Norway. And when she met her husband, Bob Harris, and moved to the US, that inkling for art caught up with her.
“One day my husband came home from work and said, ‘We need a hobby,'” Anne says matter-of-factly while picking through a small container of glass bits beside her, looking for inspiration. Together, she and her husband started to learn how to do stained glass artwork, and quickly fell in love. They never expected it to become a lifestyle. A business. But it did.
And then Anne stumbled into something else entirely. She explains in the video below.
Dichroic glass is unique in that it transmits one color and reflects another — creating a fascinating play of light and “shininess” that regular glass doesn’t hold. This trait comes from a coating originally developed by NASA and used in satellite mirrors; hence it is often referred to as “space age glass”.
When Anne first started working with dichroic glass it was a relatively new medium and sold like hot cakes. She says her husband was originally skeptical of the venture because the jewelry market was so “saturated.”
“But he was wrong,” she declares, practically gleeful. I can’t help but laugh. They started selling at craft fairs, then ebay, then established their own business as Ymir Glass Design. Then there was Etsy, and Maine Jewelry & Art. Their art has just become a larger and larger part of their lives over the years. Anne muses that her life has come full circle in terms of creativity.
She admits that recently, however, more and more people have started working with dichroic glass, forcing her to constantly try new things and out-innovate the competition.
Anne’s up for the challenge. Melting the glass together isn’t an exact science — according to Anne, you get something different, something unexpected every time. But that’s part of the appeal.
“It’s more exciting to experiment when you’re not completely sure what you’ll get as a result,” she tells me. Often she just goes wherever the glass takes her: whatever fancy strikes in the moment.
And although she’s over a decade into it, Anne assures me that every firing is a learning experience.
“Glass itself is not flexible, but there’s so much you can do with it,” she said. “It’s endless. I’m just scratching the surface.”