I have had the honor of tattooing Kerry Parks for a few years now, and every appointment leaves me amazed by the work she creates. She always comes in with a box, and at the end of her appointment she will quietly and humbly open it up and start showing me all the amazing art she brought to me as a tip. Tattooing artists is always an honor, but there is an extra bit of that in Kerry’s case. I am amazed at the ideas she comes up with, the color choices, and what glass can do with different lighting effects. She explains to me the process, and how if hung in different places the overall appearance of the piece will change. We have been lucky enough to have her work in our house for a few years now. As soon as we opened Serpents of Bienville, I knew we had to carry her work, so that others could see just how amazing and detailed it is. I am proud to say that we now carry her hand blown pumpkins for the fall season. If you haven’t come down to pick one up, you are missing out. Without further ado, here’s Kerry Parks.
Where is your studio located?
The Hot Shop of the Coastal Arts Center located at 26389 Canal Rd. Orange Beach, AL 36561.
How did you get into glass blowing?
I was attending the art program of the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL. I was exploring multiple mediums at the time including sculpture and printmaking, but had not really chosen a specific direction until I found glass. I took the first glass blowing class ever offered at the university and was immediately hooked. I was the first student to choose glass as my major and continued to explore other ways of manipulating glass such as kiln forming, casting, and ladle pouring until receiving my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Glass.
How long have you been blowing glass?
I began working with glass just over 6 years ago in college. After graduating from USA, I was lucky enough to get a full time position as a resident glass artist and instructor at The Hot Shop in Orange Beach, AL.
What is your inspiration for your work?
Over the last few years I've watched myself evolve, I have had a great opportunity to try so many things which has allowed me to narrow down what processes I most enjoy which is predominantly blowing figurative type items and adding sculptural elements. Looking at my most current work, I would say I am most inspired by the Gulf of Mexico and coastal environment. Everything about it from the calming blue/green color palette, which happens to be my colors of choice, to the inhabiting sea turtles, fish, dolphins, starfish which I tend to gravitate to creating in glass. The Gulf is part of the reason I have rooted myself on its beautiful shores for the last 17 years. I have a vivid childhood memory of getting a jellyfish wrapped around my leg getting such bad stings I had scars... its funny because these days I make blown glass jellyfish all the time and I think they are one of the most beautiful things I make! Its interesting to me life experiences from so long ago can continue to inspire you later in life.
What are your plans for the future with the beautiful work you are creating?
My constant goals are to just keep trying new techniques and doing my best to come up with new creative ideas so that I can always be improving my skill and abilities. I honestly am extremely happy with my job at the Coastal Arts Center and have no plans to leave anytime soon. I love what I do everyday, and life doesn't really get any better than that!
Do you have any big projects you want to talk about?
I recently finished a large installation for the Welcome Center in Gulf Shores, AL. It includes 39 handblown rondels in many shades of blues that resemble our Gulf waters. They are strategically hung together on the atrium wall to collectively resemble a wave of the surf. I'm also excited to announce a newly installed set of blown glass beer taps that are located in the brand new brewery that just opened up in Gulf Shores, AL.
How can people find your work (besides at the Serpents of Bienville space :) )?
I currently have all of my in The Hot Shop of the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach.