Making Beautiful Things with Elizabeth Lyons of More Fire Glass Studio

Photography by Brenna Thering of Brenna Thering Photography

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
More Fire Glass Studio and Elizabeth Lyons Glass. I opened More Fire Glass Studio in 1998. It began as a public access studio of sorts and has evolved into a production studio and gallery.  The studio is home to my production line Elizabeth Lyons Glass, as well as my sculptural work, which is where this all began, I have been making a line of hand blown and sculpted decorative objects and chandeliers. We have just moved to a new space at 36 Field Street and one of our priorities is our new gallery. 

What are you passionate about? What makes you tick?
I am compelled to make things.I think we go through phases in our lives where the definition of “making things” takes on different meanings. When I had babies I stopped making art for a period of time because my children were the best creations imaginable. Lately I have been renovating and creating a space for the studio and all of the decisions and physical labor that went into that was in essence “making”. The focus of my work lately has been a line of lighting that bridges the gap between sculptural and functional and are inspired by forms found in nature. I have been studying the natural world closely for many years and it has informed my work in many ways.

How did you get started? What were some of the difficulties you faced in starting?
I graduated from Alfred University with a degree in sculpture and glass, and then moved to NYC for 8 years. I worked three jobs at a time to pay the rent and none of them were in the art field. When I moved back to Rochester I began making work again and started teaching art in the City School District, the majority of that time spent at SOTA and East High. In 1998 I opened More Fire and ran the studio sort of part time. 6 years ago I left teaching to focus on my work full time. It was a huge risk and it was also very hard to leave my students. Sometimes you have to eliminate things to make space for something else to happen. I had been teaching for 21 years and it was time to make space to be an artist full time. 

Lettering by Well Press Paper

What is your biggest regret?
I have no regrets. Things unfold in ways that lead you to the next step. Some of those things are painful but they are part of the trip.

What is your best advice to someone just starting out? What advice do you wish someone had said to you?
Work your ass off and keep your eyes open. It really doesn’t matter how brilliant you are if your not engaged and paying attention.

What inspires you? How do you recharge creatively?
I’m inspired by so many things… What’s happening in the world and in this city, nature, design (historically), color, light, material, the human body, my experience, emotions, etc. Recharging is a challenge. My work is very physical so walking and yoga help keep this machine working. 

What is the most challenging part of running your business?
It’s always the same challenge, how to make space and time to be creative and balance the tasks that are required to run a business. It helps to have amazing people who work with you and for that I am grateful.

What is your favorite part of what you do?
The process. 

Name some local creatives/business owners that you really admire.
There are so many amazing creatives in this community including farmers, wine makers, architects, artists, dancers, bakers, chefs and more. I admire so many and and feel fortunate to live in such a creatively diverse community. It is very challenging to be a small business in the shadow of huge corporations and we all have to be cognizant of where we spend our money. Choose small business and keep things interesting in this community.