Artist Margaret Malishchak writes, "In my twenties I took a stained glass making course and was immediately enchanted. I enthusiastically turned out pieces for several years and then........graduate school, marriage, career, houses, children........and the stained glass equipment went into boxes in the basement, where it remained untouched for over 25 years.
A few years back my daughter and I were down in the basement and she asked what was in those boxes. I pulled out the old equipment and wondered to myself whether it still worked. Not only did it work, I discovered that not much had changed in the stained glass world in those 25+ years - it's a wonderfully low-tech endeavor.
And I realized, with a joyful shock, "I could do this again!"
Through glass4good I now offer the work of my second stained glass "career". Because I want to use my creative skills for creating more good in the world, I donate 100% of the money I receive from sales. Thank you for helping me realize this dream."
Q: What town do you live in? Where is your studio/place of work?
A: I’ve lived in Madison for 30 years. My “messy work” studio (glass cutting, soldering, using chemicals) is in the basement of my house. That’s also where I keep my glass. My “clean work” studio (drawing, creating templates, foiling, adding glued-on objects) is in my daughter’s former bedroom.
Q: What kind of art do you create/what do you do in the arts?
A: Through glass4good, I sell my original artwork and donate 100% of sales to New Jersey-based social and environmental justice organizations. Since November 2020, I have donated over $5,100.
Q: What is your art background/education/
A: I took some art classes in college and minored in photography. In the 1980s, I learned stained glass at a studio in Madison which no longer exists.
Q: How do you balance your time in the studio/in the workplace with other commitments?
A: Since I retired in 2020, I have much more time to devote to creating stained glass while still keeping up with other commitments.
Q: Has your practice changed over time? Why/How?
A: My first stained glass “career” was during the five years following learning the craft. At that time, I created a lot of straight-edged pieces, reminiscent of quilt blocks or Escher designs. I used large areas of clear glass accented with strong, deep colors. Looking back on some of those pieces now, I see them as attractive but lifeless.
During my second stained glass career, starting about six years ago, my designs became more curving and lively, and I’ve thought more about making the edges an integral part of the overall design. I’ve also gotten much more daring about combining different types of glass and experimenting with colors - for example, I recently completed a piece called “red sea” which is almost entirely in different tones and textures of red glass.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being in the arts? Least favorite?
A: My favorite thing is being able to actualize the many ideas that swirl around in my head. I guess my least favorite thing would be that materials (in my case, glass) have a mind of their own sometimes. You have to learn to go with it.
Q: What inspires you? Who are your favorite artists/ artwork? Favorite museum/ gallery (outside of Morris County
A: I’m often inspired by nature, but really, ideas live everywhere.
I enjoy the Visual Arts Center in Summit.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I’m working on a commission piece for the sister of one of my most faithful purchasers. She requested something reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work. It’s a larger, more linear piece than I typically make.
Q: What are a few of your big artistic career goals? What is your dream project?
A: I hope to discover just how wild and crazy I can get in the stained glass medium and still create something intriguing.
Q: When you are working through problems in your arts practice, who do you talk to? What is the best piece of advice you've been given? What advice do you have to give other artists?
A: My two design consultants are my best friend from college, who is an artist and had a career in graphic design, and a retired art teacher friend who I connected with on social media. The art teacher once told me: “Use that all-important intuition.” It’s good advice for any artist.
Q: How do you stay connected and up to date with the art world?
A: Since the pandemic, mostly through Instagram and virtual networking with other stained glass artists.
Q: What memorable responses have you had to your work?
A: It’s always delightful to have people tell me my work is beautiful. One of my purchasers told me she likes the organic forms and colors which mimic the natural world. Something I’ve found fascinating is seeing which piece(s) people like - not always the ones I would expect!
Q: Do you have any exhibitions/events/performances coming up?
A: As a member of the Art League of the Chathams, I am able to participate in their Fall Art Show, where I will have 4 pieces exhibited. I also have a website, where both available and sold work can be viewed:
Q: Where is your favorite place to find visual arts in Morris County?
A: The Morris Museum.
Q: What do you want others to know about your art practice/artistic themes/stylistic choices/materials you use?
A: One of the important elements I try to incorporate into my work is a sense of whimsy, which I hope is evident. I also strive to create a feeling of movement, both in the design itself and in my glass choices.
I like to work fairly quickly and intuitively. I don’t often start with a firm idea of what I want the finished piece to look like - it kind of evolves as I am working. I often change elements as I go along - design adjustments, color or glass adjustments.
Q: What was the weirdest/worst “survival” job you ever had?
A: When I first moved to NYC, I had a job selling something (can’t even remember what) by making cold calls on businesses. I think I lasted a week.
Q: What is the perfect food?
A: Salad with lots of different veggies and fresh herbs, a little tuna, avocado, and evoo/lemon juice dressing. Season with salt and Aleppo pepper.
Q: As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I don’t remember if I ever said I wanted to be an artist, but I was drawn to arts/crafts and working with my hands from an early age.
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
A: The many photographs and videos of our kids growing up.
Q: Are you an early bird or night owl?
A: My best creative energy is in the morning.
Q: What place would you like to visit?
A: Lebanon. My husband is half Lebanese.
Q: What superpower would you have and why?
A: The ability to slow down time. Since I’ve retired, time is flying by!