How it's Made

Inside the Artist's Studio with Kiku Handmade Glass

Laurie Freivogel, designer/maker for Kiku Handmade glass, takes a fresh approach to her craft, working at the intersection of graphic and glass design. Join us for a sneak peek into her Chicago-area studio to see what makes her process so unique. 

Sakura Glass Plate

Sakura Glass Plate

Symbolizing the ephemeral nature of life, the cherry blossom— featured on our Sakura Glass Plate— is one of two national flowers of Japan. The other is the chrysanthemum, or Kiku, which also happens to be the name of our artisan's tiny basement glass design studio in Oak Park, Illinois. 

Laurie's love of glass started when she bought a multicolored fused glass pendant at an art fair— it was the first time she noticed the technique. She was drawn in by the texture, the molten-liquid-turned-solid moment seemingly suspended in time, and the transparency of vibrant turquoise balanced with organic, opaque red inclusions.  Then, in the spring of 2004, Laurie discovered the indie craft movement that was growing in Chicago and had an epiphany: glass.  She bought herself a small kiln, some books and glass, set up a studio in the basement, and started experimenting with fusing and screen printing onto the glass. 

Using fine enamels, Laurie prints onto layers of colorful glass, which are then fused in a kiln in multiple firings.  It’s an unusual technique, but it allows her to express herself through color, texture and imagery. The inspiration for her motifs is diverse, drawing from pop culture, architecture, pattern and nature. 

In addition, Laurie particularly loves mid-century modern and Japanese design aesthetics, the latter of which is embodied in our Sakura Glass Plate: