Welcome to my world of warm glass—a world both solid and fluid, craft and art, clarity and mystery, and always an element of surprise. As I continue to explore this exciting medium, my excitement grows with each new work, opening new doors all along the way.
My professional career(s) over the past thirty years certainly speaks for my willingness to re-invent myself. Beginning with a Masters Degree in Social Work, I worked as a clinical therapist, then as an administrator (both in Michigan). Then a move to upstate New York led me to teaching at the State University of New York. After my husband, Ed, and I settled in Ventura, California I taught Social Work at UCSB extension and did some clinical work but finally gave in to my love of architecture and design. True to my character, I jumped into that world at the retail furniture level while learning about the field of interior design. In the meantime I enrolled in as many art classes as my schedule would allow at Ventura College, exploring printmaking, silkscreening, figure drawing, ceramics and sculpture with some of Ventura’s best artists.
In 1975 I opened a design studio, soon tested to qualify as a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers, opening my own design studio, and ultimately opened Gold Coast Design Center, a resource for other designers in the area. In both of these venues I hosted art shows for many of the leading artists in the area – Mary Michaels, Bill McEnroe, Carlisle Cooper, Dick Pehlps, Ellis Jump, Norman Kirk, Carol Freedman and Hiroko Yoshimoto.
Having always loved any art form involving glass, and having wished often that I had the time to pursue this passion, I finally took the plunge into classes and, after an introductory class at Focus on the Masters in Ventura, California, I was smitten! I enrolled for a four-day class at Pacific Art Glass in Los Angeles and never looked back. Thank goodness for my husband, Ed, who has always been so supportive and who truly challenged me to “just do it”. So here I am, another incarnation of Fran as Frances Elson – GLASS ARTIST! My first solo show took place within two years of starting on this exciting past, and I have been fortunate to have my work well accepted in the art community, and amongst my private collectors.
As well as receiving many awards from various Ventura County Art Associations, I was selected as a winner in The Delphi Glass On-Line Art Glass Festival in 2011. In 2012 my work was selected to be shown in the Los Angeles Art Association’s annual juried show. In 2013 I was named winner of the “Western Outlook Competition”, and I have been included in Art Buzz, the 2014 Collection, a hard cover art book presenting a small group of international artists, where I was awarded First Place, 2D Glass.