Shayna Leib is a glass artist with 20 years experience in the field to-date. She studied Russian literature, glassblowing, and classical piano while completing her Bachelors of Art degree in Philosophy at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. Accepted into a PhD Philosophy in New York, she chose instead to pursue a Masters of Fine Arts in glass and metal at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduated with her MFA in 2003.
Beginning in 2003, Ms. Leib worked as a metal fabricator and forger at Pearson Design Studios in Maine, reproducing the famous designs by the late Ronald Hayes Pearson for his wife, Ms. Carolyn Pearson. Upon her return to California in 2004, she taught sculpture and drawing at Cal Poly State University. In 2005 she moved on to teach glass at the University of Madison-Wisconsin.
Her sculptural studies reflect an attention to detail indicative of the two major influences on her life- music and philosophy. Trained as a classical pianist, she sees music as a metaphor for her work. The part-to-whole nature of music, and the bringing together of isolated individual lines of melody to be woven into a greater composition can be seen in her sculptural landscapes. Focused areas of movement, switchbacks of glass cane, and slow buildups of motion all come together to form a greater composition in her work.
She works in a variety of mediums including ceramic, stone, metal, photography and fabric, though glass remains her profession’s material. She prefers to use glass not for its mimetic qualities to capture the look of other materials, but for it’s ability to express flow, freeze a moment in time, and manipulate optics.
When asked about her visual aesthetic, she states “The things I find beautiful have always been fractal in nature. I am intrigued by multitudes of tiny little parts- blades of grass all bending in the wind to the same rhythm. As you pan out you have waves of form. Zoom in and you see each individual blade of grass moving to the flow of the wind.”
Ms. Leib studied glass with Che Rhodes at Penland School of Crafts, North Carolina, and Boyd Sugiki at Haystack Mountain School of Craft in Maine. Since 2006, she has worked closely with renowned metalsmith Donald Friedlich, executing the glass part of his designs.
In 2008 she was honored with the American Style Award by Wendy Rosen. Shayna Leib’s work is in numerous private and public collections nationally and has been featured at SOFA Chicago and New York for the last decade. Her work can also be found in museums, worldwide blogs and magazines, and books Contemporary Lampworking, The Best of American Glass Artists Volume L-Z, and A História Do Vidro (A History of Glass).
Growing up on the Central Coast of California connected Ms. Leib to the sea, which has been the greatest influence on her work. In 2009 she became a diver and underwater photographer, developing a passion for deep water diving and night diving. The ocean has always been a source of inspiration and mystery to her, and it is a lifelong goal to dive all of the earth’s seas.
2007 Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, ME
• Studied with Boyd Sugiki
2003 University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
• MFA, Glass and Metal
2002 Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC
• Studied with Ché Rhodes
1998 California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, CA
• BA, Philosophy
• Minors in Glass, Classical Piano, Russian & German
Research and Teaching Experience
2005 Department of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison
• Adjunct Faculty in Glass
2005 Department of Art, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA
• Lecturer, Sculpture, Drawing
2003-2004 Ronald Pearson Design Studios, Deer Isle, ME
2000-2003 University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
• Teaching assistant, & equipment builder for the Glass Program
• Wrote UW Glass Handbook