I have enjoyed a career as a graphic designer for a really really long time. You know those cave paintings in Altamira, Spain? They may be some of my early work. It’s been awhile... I’m not sure.
It was the awful economic downturn that caused me to give thought to new career options. Not exactly the best timing for a new business but artists are rarely accused of being overly practical. Since my client’s budgets were being trimmed and my workload was diminishing... I had time to do some exploring. Plus that pesky financial pressure to make a living.
Kiln formed glass is what captured my imagination coupled with the desire to bring something fresh to glass lovers - myself included. In my various client assignments, community projects & personal artistic outbursts over the years, I have had the opportunity to dabble in pen & ink, photography, calligraphy, watercolor, jewelry & sculpture. It is the last one of those creative mediums that is giving my present endeavor in the art world some of it’s true uniqueness.
Actually I started working with colored glass first, but the expense of shipping the raw materials to Hawaii and the frustration of so much arriving broken left me rethinking my artistic direction. It was the persistent nudge from a friend and fellow artist plus the local island mantra of "use what got" that persuaded me to try working with window glass that was being thrown away. It took several months of failed attempts and a pile of glass oddities before the ideal process was nailed down. But the personal conviction of "it has to work!" paid off. The result is a match of repurposed glass and hand carved sculpture. I am pleased to say that the very first pieces that sold were to the Nature Conservancy on Kauai. It was a great start!
Initially surrounded by the tropics and now residing in the Pacific Northwest, most of my inspiration comes from what I have enjoyed outdoors... sea life, local flowers, garden visitors & forest finds. Some of the imagery is taken directly from natural discoveries while others bear a more contemporary symbolic style as a nod to my graphic design background. The collection continues to grow as local nature reveals itself.
As an artist attempting to have a minimal impact on the environment, my studio is dedicated to using materials as earth friendly as possible. Much of the glass used in the Aqua Impressions artwork is scrap collected from local window companies that could otherwise end up in landfills. Also Aqua Impressions art only takes one kiln firing verses the two most colored glass art requires... saving energy.
Naturally, I hope you fall in love with the art and purchase a piece or two for your collection. But just as importantly, I want to encourage you to try new things and explore your skills. Don’t wait for the next recession or your friends to pester you... step into what you were blessed with!
Donna Taylor Mayo
Oh... and about the We Me I Us that you will find referenced on this site... while I am the creative artist behind the artwork, I am certainly not all alone in this adventure. Blessed with a husband who has a mechanical engineering type brain keeping all the equipment working and the studio safe, a sister who is an enthusiastic supporter & constant source of ideas, daughters who serve as counselor and coach keeping me focused, sons-in-law that are brilliant in the computer tech world and social media, plus family and friends who cheer me on and keep me supplied with chai lattes & dark chocolate... there is a whole village actively involved.
Donna presently lives & creates in the outskirts of Olympia, Washington and is married to her high school sweetheart... still!