“Cutting, grinding, polishing, cleaning, firing.”
These are the words that Utah-based, kiln-formed glass artist, Sarinda Jones uses to describe her process when working with glass to create works of art.
In March of 2019, Sarinda completed a public art installation at the new Fire Station 3 building, which opened in October 2018 as the country’s second fire station to be built as a LEED Gold certified, Net Zero energy building. Over the past eight months, Sarinda developed and executed a proposal to create three glass-based installations for the interior of the new building.These works are now on view and can be seen by contacting the Fire Station to schedule a visit.
Sarinda is primarily a kiln-formed glass artist and watercolor painter who has been a practicing artist throughout her life. Raised by a painter, she was surrounded by art from a young age. It wasn’t until her twenties, however, that she found glass as a medium for art. Rummaging through a Salt Lake City vintage toy store’s marble collection, she realized that marbles were tiny works of art, and her curiosity was ignited. She has tirelessly researched and experimented with glass as an artistic material since that realization.
Sarinda developed her concepts for the Fire Station 3 public art project in response to the project goals established by the Sugar House Community Council, the Salt Lake City Art Design Board, and the firefighters who live and work at Fire Station 3. Sarinda considered the calming qualities of the glass she uses in her installations, as well as incorporating a color palette that would complement the goal that the artwork to be “of a tranquil nature and reflect health, wellness, and recuperation.”She also wanted to bring in thematic elements that would “reflect the unique and historical identity of the Sugar House community.”
With this inspiration and insight, Sarinda started the creative journey by taking a walk through Sugar House Park, where she came upon Parley’s Creek. It is here that the inspiration struck her. “The Creek connects the whole community and physically runs right into Sugar House. I abstracted the color, feeling of meandering, and calming effects of the water. It translated nicely with the illumination of glass and the undulating shapes of the circular disks in Parley’s Undercurrent,” Sarinda said of her process in conceptualizing the largest of the three installations at Fire Station 3.
To fabricate the disks that make up Parley’s Undercurrent, Sarinda invited firefighters from Fire Station 3 to her studio to be a part of the process. Each firefighter followed the multi-step process that Sarinda laid out to create a personalized disk. She noted that each disk required fifty hours in the kiln and two firings— a much longer and more intensive process than most people would suspect. “The experience with the firefighters was truly amazing, fun and engaging for me,” she said of the experience. The disks created by the firefighters were then integrated into the installation, a final composition of nearly 300 disks.
Common Threads, the second installation, is a triptych which abstracts the idea of intertwined community and greets those who enter the Fire Station through the main doors. Tribute, the third installation, is a depiction of the previous Fire Station 3, reinforcing a sense of the history of Sugar House and of the previous Fire Station.
“There are always challenges in public art and I guess those depend on how a particular artist works, and the scope of the project. I like public art as it challenges me to work on a larger scale and I enjoy working with the public,” Sarinda said. “I would love to see more innovation in materials and mediums used in our public art programs. For example, glass is a renewable resource and has so many interesting applications. My hope is to expand the limits of what people think about when they think of glass.”
When asked if she had any advice for emerging artists, Sarinda suggested to “try and try again. Create, regardless of who likes your work or who does not. Take some business classes, know your market and what kind of art you create. Stay thirsty and find what makes you passionate about what you create. If you can find out what that is, then you have already made your mark.”