Artist Interview-Janis Bryn McCubbins

A garden stake & sound advice from Janis Bryn McCubbins

My biggest breakthrough came whenMy biggest breakthrough came when I had been working as a production manager/bookkeeper for a graphic designer in town and he was no longer able to keep me on salary. I had just taken a class in glass fusing and really enjoyed it. So much so that my husband has recently turned a concrete pad in our backyard into a small art studio for myself and our two children. I had purchased a small kiln and was making glass as a hobby. Not but a couple of weeks after being let go, I was asked if I wanted to participate in a local art show. I still to this day have no idea who or what perpetrated that invite. I was not even thinking of selling my work at that time, but I assumed it must be the direction I needed to turn so I  gave it a whirl. It turns out that I had a very successful first event, so I decided to dive in and begin putting an effort into selling my work professionally.

Who are your heroes? My real-life heroes would be the unsung men and women getting up each day to take on tasks that no one gives any thought to. Raising children with developmental, social/emotional, or health issues. The teachers, caregivers, community service and non-profit workers that do thankless tasks. Those simply trying to make this world and the future better despite little to no funding nor recognition. We have so much that needs attention and it’s not being taken seriously. It’s those doing the day-to-day tending that I honor.

How do you balance day-to-day responsibilities with your creative pursuits?  I am beyond fortunate when it comes to being able to balance my life. My husband and I have made choices to allow for that, but I have managed to create opportunities for myself so that I have been able to work from home for the past 20+years. It’s enabled me to volunteer and be there for my kids as they grew and now I am able to turn that attention to other volunteer endeavors. I generally work in my studio in the mornings or on my online presence for my artwork and then spend the afternoon doing either my bookkeeping or transcription and audio captioning work. Having the bookkeeping/transcription work also fills my time when the art side is slow and being a freelancer in the bookkeeping and transcription allows me the opportunity to schedule art shows, custom/commission work and gallery/shop visits whenever warranted.

I love embroidery, so I have been integrating that into my glass work as I am able. I recently learned how to create pine needle baskets and love that it embodies the stitching. I’ve been beading glass cabochons or pendants that I fire and then weaving miniature baskets around them. That’s been very rewarding and checks off all of the things I enjoy creatively. I also love to knit and was fortunate to find a group of likeminded artisans who meet monthly and we knit breast prosthetics for women who have had mastectomies. My mom is a breast cancer survivor and it’s rewarding to be able to do something I enjoy and help others at the same time. I’ve made a lot of really good friends through this group and we now support other causes in addition to the Knitted Knockers Organization. I also meditate and enjoy reading, walking/hiking and spending time with my family.

Anything else you’d like to add? I am hoping to continue developing as an embroidery artist. I love designing the hats and totes and other items. I feel as though I have more control over the medium. It’s been a real joy and connects me somehow to my childhood. I’ll be featuring a mix of my glass and embroidery, along with the pine baskets at Artown’s Art in the Garden, held on Saturday, July 13th, from 9am – 4pm at 1280 Monroe Street in Reno. We have a variety of artisans who each donate 20% of their sales proceeds to The Friends of Washoe County Library. Last year we raised over $5,400.00.

I love giving back. I think it’s important to find something that fills you within to the extent that you are a better version of yourself and are then able to show-up for others.

Janis Bryn McCubbins

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