Semantics aside, Verne Orlosk embraces title of ’emerging artist’ for her work with fused glass

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Verne Orlosk in her art space on Chestnut Street, Studio Verne. Photo/Carol Robidoux

MANCHESTER, NH – Verne Orlosk is an accidental fused glass artist who, after 22 years of manipulating one of the most fragile and fascinating mediums around, is tickled to be recognized as “an emerging artist.”

Normally, says Orlosk, an artist who is “emerging” is relatively new to the scene in the terms ascribed within the art realm.

This particular honor, bestowed by Art New England magazine in the March/April edition, recognizes 10 regional artists whose “visionary” work sets them apart.

In context, Orlosk looks past the semantics and accepts the title – with a prefix.

“I guess you could say I’m re-emerging,” she says, sitting on a chair in the middle of her gallery where all that shimmers is glass.

She’s surrounded by works in various sizes and shapes in which she has manipulated, pulled, stretched, coaxed and converted colorful glass into elegant acts of art inspired by the natural world. Her aesthetic hasn’t necessarily changed over all these years as much as it’s evolved. The more she works with glass the more she is moved to see where it will lead her.

Although drawing is her first love, Orlosk’s relationship with fused glass has become her passion. It began when she took her daughters to a fused glass class at the Currier Museum two decades ago. That was the sum total of her experience when she was approached a short time later to teach the class.

“They told me just try to stay a step ahead of the students,” Orlosk recalls, with a laugh.

But the urge to have a space of her own eventually led her away from teaching to finding herself as an artist in her own right. She landed on Hanover Street, where Studio Verne, a street-level storefront, provided a balance of gallery and workspace, and room enough for occasional classes.

“When I was working at the studio at the Currier’s art center it was open kiln and I was just firing every day – which left me no time to create,” Orlosk says.

Having her own studio gave her room to breathe as an artist.

“For me, it’s the quiet contemplation of having that breathable space that no one can take from you,” she says.

Funny enough, she actually gave up the Hanover Street space last year after she was informed that a developer had purchased the building she was in. She could have stayed through the development of apartments in the space above her shop, but that made no sense – given the delicate nature of what she does, and the tranquility she seeks in doing so.

She feels fortunate to have found a new space right around the corner, at 412 Chesnut St. It’s provided a bit of a refresh for her, without having to lose the vibe of what’s become a very arts-centric block – including The Palace Theatre, The Rex Theatre, and The Spotlight Room, as well as her old neighbor from Hanover Street, Grace Burr of Creative Framing Solutions, who also made the move and remains her next door neighbor, and the New England College Roger Williams Gallery, on Amherst Street.

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Verne Orlosk is the only New Hampshire artist recognized in Art New England’s round-up of 10 emerging artists for 2023. Photo/Carol Robidoux

Orlosk is the only New Hampshire artist included in Art New England magazine’s list, and Orlosk takes pride in that – especially considering the trend right now toward more contemporary and street art that provokes and questions everything.

“It’s about inclusionary diversity and all those buzzwords that speak to what’s happening in our world, which is important. But as an artist I don’t have a crisis that I’m working on; I’ve accepted who I am,” Orlosk says, which is a woman of a certain age who, if anything, embraces that reemerging means she’s finally come into her own.

“Doing fused glass in the way I do it, I don’t fit in a particular category of art. It’s a form of expression that really is part of my being,” Orlosk says. Her process includes “working backward,” from the finished piece she envisions to the granular sparks from which the idea germinated.

“There’s a lot of processing in your brain. Having this studio allows for that process,” she says. “Sometimes it takes the right space to allow ideas to flow.”


About this Author

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!