Hobby Becomes a Second Career

Posted by on Apr 7, 2019 in Don Carberry | Comments Off on Hobby Becomes a Second Career

Stained Glass Artist, Don Carberry, found his way to Charleston Crafts taking a rather circuitous path. This month’s interview follows his path from Sumter, South Carolina to Church Street in the Historic District of Charleston. 

You can find more of Don Carberry’s work in the Charleston Crafts Gallery at 161 Church Street and the Charleston Crafts Online Store

Many artists have been ‘makers’ all of their lives? Have you always been creative and what mediums did you explore before moving to stained glass?

I have always enjoyed creating things.  In college, one of my majors was industrial arts.  That discipline included making everything from small décor to furniture and kitchen cabinetry.  After a career in the U.S. Air Force, I took up stained glass as a hobby and soon found that it had become a second career.

You have been a member of Charleston Co-Op for many years?  What year did you join? How long does it take to drive from Sumter, SC to Charleston?

I joined Charleston Crafts around 1995.  Charleston is about a four hour round trip from my home in Sumter.

Stained glass has a VERY traditional history yet, your work reflects a bit of whimsy and a contemporary vibe. Where do you go for inspiration…other mediums, other artists, art shows and/or galleries?

I collaborate with Carole (my wife) on designs; she creates the final designs.  Our glass ornament collection, now in its 25th  year, began using some interesting materials from other projects.  By the 4th year of ornaments, we realized we had started something and had customers coming back for the “new” ornament.

What is the most important tool in your studio?

In stained glass, the cutter is the most important tool followed by a quality soldering iron. 

What are the steps in your creative process?

I use the copper-foil technique, which allows me to incorporate more detail than the lead-came technique.  The process begins with wrapping the edges of each individual piece with adhesive backed copper foil, assembling the pieces like a puzzle, and soldering all of the seams.  Some of our designs have involved hundreds of pieces.

Aside from the Charleston Crafts Co-Op, do you belong to any other artist organizations?

I belong to the Sumter Artists Guild, here in SC, and to the Sandpiper Gallery in Polson, MT.

How do you see your work evolving in the next year?

Over the years, I have done many custom orders, up to a 6’ X 6’ window. I will continue to do some orders, but I’m concentrating on our ornament collection and smaller panels for the galleries.

Do you participate in art shows? 

I do a few local shows each year in SC.  When in Montana, I do a great show in Bigfork, MT and a number of smaller events  throughout the summer months.