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Heart Of Glass

Shandra McLane working in her studio (photograph by Sarah Daniel-Campbell).


Marcia Santore

She was almost at the top of the world when everything changed.

Shandra McLane discovered her calling to work in glass when she was hired as the print shop coordinator at Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington, founded by Dale Chihuly. She was first drawn to the kiln-fused glass technique vitreography by pioneer Harvey Littleton, whom McLane cites as “a huge inspiration.”

“I was attracted to the medium because you constantly have to problem-solve,” McLane said. “Colors, patterns, how to design what’s in your head … the outcome is rewarding but it can take 10 tries to get you there!”

Today, she lives in central New Hampshire, where she maintains Squam River Studios in a beautifully redeveloped former bank building in Ashland, N.H.; here she creates her experimental glass art. McLane completed a master’s of education degree in integrated arts from Plymouth State University, where she went on to become an adjunct faculty member. Finding ways to bring art and education together is one of her most passionate missions.

McLane finds that residencies involving travel give her an opportunity to make connections with other artists, expand her knowledge and refresh her creativity. In 2015, she boarded the Antigua — a wooden sailing vessel — along with 40 other international artists, and explored Svalbard, Norway, an archipelago just 10 degrees from the North Pole and home of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. The trip changed her work, inspiring an interest in more monochromatic pieces as well as two on-going projects about the environment.

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