February Artist of the Month Irene Ultee



Artist’s Statement

I became an attorney, but I would have been happier as a full time artist.  Twenty years ago, after a simple pendant fusing class, I became obsessed with glass. I bought a small kiln, signed up for classes led by renowned artists  in places such as Florida, North Carolina, New York, California, Maryland and D.C and started traveling.  Within two years, I found myself traveling weekly to Richmond, Virginia taking glass fusing classes at the Richmond Visual Arts Center.  Legal cases could not be scheduled on Mondays as I had to be there. Then, I had a studio built in my home with several kilns, grinders, tile, band and other saws along with a host of other equipment. It is an obsession that I enjoy as I can work with beautiful colors freezing them in time in glass.

I love bright colors because they make me happy and excited about life.  Whether it is a field of red tulips, bright yellow daffodils, the beginning of a fireworks display or a colorful entrance into an aromatic, brightly lit, department store, bright colors make me want to capture the beauty and warmth of the moment.  Hence, I create art to portray bright patches of life enveloping happy moods for everyone.

I have spent the last few years creating glass vessels, but now am returning to my beginnings making jewelry, bowls and trays encapsulating my life’s experiences with the design, interests and the environment I have enjoyed.  For example, as a first generation American from a Dutch family, I have spent countless hours in the Netherlands observing the breathtaking beauty of tulips, hyacinths, and other spring flowers. Traveling from there to Italy, the Sorrento markets offer an array of colors so vibrant that when those colors are seen again, the sights and scents of the area return in my thoughts.  Finally, the sunsets from everywhere cast a glow of  colors I can only attempt to harness.  All of these scenes, I try to capture in my glass art using  colors to to find the same feelings that viewing these events might solicit.  I study pictures of all of these places and find glass in these colors to put into my art.

I hope that you love the art which I create, and I hope that each piece brings you those feelings of happiness, of memories and of just plain fun that they have for me in creating them.

- Irene Ultee



Irene Ultee was born in Waynesboro, Virginia and attended Virginia Tech for her degree. Following that, she obtained her Juris Doctorate/ law degree from the University of Richmond, T.C. Williams School of law. Although she has been an attorney and now a Special Justice for many years in Fredericksburg, VA, for the past twenty years, she has been heavily involved in glass fusing and has taken continuous classes at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond and  a multitude of advanced glass classes in Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, New York, and  California. She has changed her law practice to part time  in order to pursue glass on a more full time basis.  Her work has been in countless juried shows where she sells her jewelry, her bowls and primarily her vessels.

To view Irene's collection CLICK HERE

To see Irene in the gallery CLICK HERE

To see s video of Irene's Heart necklaces CLICK HERE