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  • Writer's pictureShea Stanfield

Transforming Everyday Objects

"My passion is transforming everyday objects into innovative glass designs through sensory observation, imagination, and meticulous technique." Local glass artist Jacki Cohen's love of color, vibrancy and bold design reverberates through her one-of-a-kind, eye-popping, functional glass pieces. There is no mistaking a Jacki Cohen creation; a conversation piece in each space they occupy!

Jacki's family moved to Phoenix in the 1970s when she was seven. She credits her father with her creativity, "He was naturally a visual artist, dabbling in different art projects in his free time." From a very young age, she remembers spending hours with her crayons, colored pencils, and paints, which were never in short supply.

After high school graduation, Jacki moved to Tempe to attend Arizona State University for a degree in Marketing from the business school. She soon launched her career with a job in Phoenix as a retail buyer for a large department store. "At that time, we bought regionally; my territory covered five states, 40 stores, and I had responsibility for a multi-million-dollar department." Jacki thrived on the challenge and the opportunity to travel, depending on her organizational skills to keep her at the top of her game; however, once she married and started her family, it was time to step off the corporate world fast track and settle down. The family chose to stay in the Phoenix area; she said, "I never thought of leaving Arizona. I love the beauty of the desert, the weather, and the healthy outdoor lifestyle."

The next phase of Jacki's career was as a stay-at-home mom and volunteer while her children were growing up. Yet her creative energy needed an outlet. Drawing on her lifelong love of visual arts and fashion, Jacki found new ways to express her creative talents in creating amazing theme-oriented parties for personal events and organizations. Her organizational planning skills and the ability to deliver quality on time made Jacki’s talents a high commodity. It was only a short time before she was able to turn her attention and vast experience in business toward building an art career in fused glass. Jacki typically starts her day early, preferring to work in her studio from morning to mid-afternoon, leaving late afternoons for the business aspects of her art business. She is an expert in successful business practices, planning, organization, responsiveness, and mindful follow-through; her motto is “I've got this!”

"Everyday objects also inspire me; a restaurant menu, desert specimen, or fashion item can inspire my next collection. I translate the world's patterns in everyday things and bring them to life abstractly in glass."

Jacki’s art is inspired by the environment of Arizona's majestic landscapes. Her early morning hikes with her music help to spark new ideas for bold new collections. Traveling with her family is an opportunity to collect ideas from new landscapes, cultures, and regional designs to incorporate into her pieces. She adds, "Everyday objects also inspire me; a restaurant menu, desert specimen, or fashion item can inspire my next collection. I translate the world's patterns in everyday things and bring them to life abstractly in glass." The second component of her process is her state of mind. Jacki explains, "When I am in a good mood which is most of the time, ideas are flying in my head so fast my hands can hardly keep up." When she isn't feeling it creatively, Jacki makes good use of her time concentrating on the business side of her art or organizing one of her two home studios.

Jacki explains her artistic expression, "I have my bold and vibrant style in interpreting color, shapes, and design. I love layering and pushing the boundaries of many layers of glass during the kiln firing process." Jacki's ultimate goal is to make people smile with the unusual handling of the materials. When asked what the future holds, Jacki responds, "Continuing to find that work/life balance." She admits to often working seven days a week in her studio; however, at some point, she would like to hire an assistant to take care of the business end of her work and expand her gallery representation, so she has more time for her family.

Artist Jacki Cohen enjoys the loyal following of many clients and collectors. She enjoys her exhibition schedule with the Shemer Art Center and the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix, Desert Foothills Gallery in Sedona, and the Hidden in the Hill Studio Tour in the Cave Creek, Carefree, and Scottsdale areas each November. She is a member of the Sonoran Arts League, Arizona Artists Guild, Arizona Glass Alliance, Sedona Center for the Arts, and Artlink Phoenix. In the philosophy of glass artist Dale Chihuly, "Glass is the most magical of all materials." We could all use a little more creative magic in our lives.



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