Sue Long is a local artist based in Okemos who has been working with glass for more than eight years. Having also worked with fiber, clay and oil paintings, she found a love for glass work. Long’s specialty is creating fused glass sculptures of large flowers, which are usually 2-5 feet tall and include a metal base.
“You wouldn’t know they were flowers until you look at the top,” said Long. “The stem is made up of different kinds of glass in different shapes.”
Ensuring a statement is made with every creation, Long’s artwork “opens people’s minds to new possibilities.” She feels her flowers showcase different perspectives, challenging admirers to think about what they are seeing while being absorbed in the moment. “Glass is flexible,” Long said. “I can twist it and change it however I like, and it’s an easy medium to walk away from if I need to.”
Long has her studio right in her home, with her own electric kiln to heat the glass. She claims that it’s easy to pick up her glass and then put it down in completion, but it’s never exactly a swift project.
“It takes a long time. I have to make all the parts myself, so there’s a lot of preliminary work before I even start construction. It can take a couple months to make one (flower), but I work on three or four at the same time,” said Long.
Long’s favors the phrase “What if?” as it plays an enormous role in developing her work. “It’s something that I say a lot while I’m creating,” she said. “What if I did this or that? What if I put this color instead of this color? It really opens my creative conduits.”
When asked how she comes up with her ideas, Long explains that they are constantly bouncing around in her head, never leaving her alone. It helps to take inspiration from the tons of extra material around her at any given time. The inspiration assists in picturing how a piece starts and what may change in due time.
“I’ll be minding my own business, and I’ll get an idea or image in my head. They’re not very clear images, but I have the basic idea,” Long said. “As I’m making them, they continue to change and take their own shape as I work on them.”
Long’s outlook on creativity is positive and moving. She sincerely believes everyone has creativity in them, despite the little credit many people tend to give themselves — the spirit of innovation in one person simply manifests differently from everyone else around them.
“Be it art, cooking, sports or even scheduling, everyone is creative,” said Long, “Give yourself some credit for making your life the way you