Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Unblinking orange eye of Pele stares from the throbbing glory-hole waiting to envelop pure silicone crystals to return them to a liquid state. Her hot roaring breath brightly heats the building as plain sand is transformed into objects of splendor. Glass freezes light and movement into permanent design by emerging artist Nicole Fierce.

Ms. Fierce grew up in Connecticut and moved to Minnesota with her family at the age of twelve. She studied Theater and Psychology at Hamline University before embarking on a career of lighting design for opera, theater, and special events. After twelve years she decided to depart from the male-dominated field of production.

“Artwork is a passion, it becomes you, it isn’t a choice,” declared Nicole. She began working at The Bead Monkey store and discovered the joy of making charms. She has developed a unique line of delicate earrings, jewelry, and continues to teach classes. She also worked at a hardware store and pottery studio, which lead to hand blown glass.

Intense volcanic heat used to mold beauty from the mundane has beckoned Ms. Fierce for the past sixteen months. It is a science as well as an art. Her technical skills improve every time she works in the studio. She is comfortable in the community of glass artisans. It is a collaborative process because a glass artist cannot safely work alone. She is developing physical strength and dexterity from the demands of this art form as she explores her own distinct style. The male glass blowers are friendly and helpful.

Hospitality is true kindness according to Nicole. She wants her space to be where people want to go. She desires guests to feel welcome and comfortable. It goes beyond offering a variety of snacks and refreshments. She emphatically stated, “Everyone I meet is for a reason, I can learn from every person so it’s best to never be unfriendly.” She encourages one and all to have good manners and smile. Be self-aware enough to offer benevolence to strangers at all times. You never know where it will lead.

Recently, Ms. Fierce opened a shared space with design partner Marlo Cronquist ( The Green Machine Gallery opening event served scrumptious gluten-free nosh by Glorious Nibbles ( The talented Craig J. Campbell demonstrated the complexity of creating a simple glass bowl to an enraptured audience. He used wit and wisdom to explain the process and its science. We were able to sit within a few feet of where he worked on the molten glass, besieged by the fiery furnace ( The gallery is located on the third level of the Foci – Minnesota Center for Glass Arts Building (#10). Enter on the south end of the building complex at 2010 East Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis ( Beware the speed bump in the driveway next to the coffee shop; it will scrape the bottom of your auto even at a low speed.

Green Machine Gallery is open by appointment and during the Art-A-Whirl Art Crawl. Ms. Fierce can be contacted at or She won the “Ima Best Hospitality” award for 2011 Art Crawls. Read the review posted on September 21st, 2011 and summary on January 23rd, 2012. Included in this article are photos of her work, apology for the gray strip at the bottom of the jewelry photo - technical difficulties.

Light Your Fire.
© 2012 Ima B. Musing

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