in partnership
(Image courtesy of Molly Schwartz).

Artist of the Week: Molly Schwartz

Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!

Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? Do you work with other mediums?
I’ve always loved to draw and design, but I didn’t start working with glass art and getting into it seriously until about 2-3 years ago. I currently work with both tempered glass and annealed glass. I also use acrylic paint and resin. Resin is especially beautiful to work with, and I love the challenge it can present! Sometimes I will use gold leaf, glitter, wood or metal. I’m always trying to see what else I can add into my work to shake things up.

Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
I start by figuring out the size of the piece and then I begin to think about possible colors and themes. I like to have the idea really open ended because the project can change dramatically once the glass is cracked. I spend a lot of time designing the piece in my head then I sketch out the theme. It’s sort of an outline but really, I just need to dive in and see where the painting and the glass takes me. Once the glass is painted, I attach it to wood. If there are fine details to the painting, I’ll often paint the wood itself. I’ll figure out where I want the breaking point to be and then I shatter the glass. I’ll often pull big chunks of glass out and sometimes I’ll stand the pieces up on end and add thinned down paint to give the piece movement and depth. I’ll add resin toward the end, since the contrast between the broken glass and the glossy smooth finish that resin adds really brings it together. There’s a lot of detail work that goes into a piece, and lately it seems like my clients just want really big works so I can easily spend hundreds of hours on one.

Tell us about where your inspiration for your art come from?
I’m inspired by other painters, glass artists, sculptors, graffiti artists, you name it. I love to see people creating and pushing boundaries of what is familiar. All of it makes me want to push the envelope with my own art.

Do you have a specific “beat” you like best – nature, food, profiles etc?
Nature, definitely! Especially water. Glass reminds me so much of water, and that is often reflected in the pieces I create.

Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
You know what, they all mean a lot to me. I spend so much time with each piece that they are like my babies. I inevitably have faced many exhausting challenges along the way and usually feel the need to rework huge sections until it feels right. Through all the ups and downs and long hours I spend on each piece, I’m quite attached by the end but I’m also excited that it was made for someone else that will love it.

What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
I have a daughter who is artistic as well. She’s ten, but she takes it very seriously. She tries to create art with a lot of realism and doubts her work if it doesn’t mimic reality enough. This has made me look at my own art and ask; What is beautiful? I love to take something that others may consider garbage like broken glass, and make it into something new and wonderful. What is art, What is beauty? I want to challenge those questions and find my answers in the unexpected.

If we want to see more of your work where should we go to find?
To see my work in real life is definitely the way to do it! The broken glass is so vibrant and detailed and is refracting light in all directions which makes it difficult to get great photographs. So, if you can, please go check out my latest piece currently on sale at the Schoener home furnishings store in Lincoln Square in Bellevue. Otherwise, I have a piece on loan at Morgan Stanley, downtown Seattle, some at First Impressions Dental Care in Issaquah, and you can see three of my favorite pieces at the Bellevue Daniel’s Broiler. The rest are in private collections. Otherwise, you can always find my work on Instagram or my website.

What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
I just finished the one that is up at Schoener and I love it. I’m taking a few days off and then I’ll begin my next commission which is four 6’x2’ sections of glass that will hang lengthwise together. I haven’t figured out the theme yet, but possibly something Seattle inspired. I’m just starting on the sketches. This is a fun stage because the possibilities are endless.

Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!
I like my coffee with Nutpods.