It’s all about the colours

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - People - By LISA BOONE

FOR Janel Foo, the jour­ney to be­com­ing a full-time stained glass artist be­gan with a jew­ellery class at Pasadena City Col­lege, in Cal­i­for­nia, the United States.

“I had been do­ing wardrobe styling for the Jonas Brothers for about eight years and I needed a break,” she says, from her garage stu­dio in High­land Park. “When I took a jew­ellery cer­tifi­cate pro­gramme at PCC, I was re­quired to take a crafts class.”

At first, she was in­tim­i­dated by the stained glass com­po­nent. Soon, how­ever, she was hooked. “It en­com­passed ev­ery­thing I’ve loved do­ing my en­tire life: de­sign, art, colour and tex­ture,” she adds.

When she moved on to an ad­vanced stained glass class at Stained Glass Sup­plies in Pasadena, Foo found her style: min­i­mal geo­met­ric sun­catch­ers with pops of colour and clean lines.

“My work is all about the colour palette,” says Foo, who is 37 and grew up in Hunt­ing­ton Beach. “I spend a lot of time mak­ing sure the colour is right.”

Work­ing alone in her de­tached one-car garage-turned-stu­dio, Foo as­sem­bles two to three sun­catch­ers per day. Re­cently, her or­ders have in­creased, thanks to com­mis­sions for West Elm and cus­tom pieces for wed­dings.

Foo says that most of her sales are cour­tesy of In­sta­gram even though her work has been fea­tured in hol­i­day pop-ups at both West Elm and Nord­strom.

“Janel Foo’s glass­work is like noth­ing we’d ever seen be­fore,” said Jen­nifer Goot­man, West Elm VP of So­cial Con­scious­ness & In­no­va­tion.

“Her use of unique colours and geo­met­ric shapes cap­ti­vated us. We knew her hand­crafted pieces would com­ple­ment West Elm’s LO­CAL as­sort­ment and win the hearts of our cus­tomers.”

She works every day, of­ten do­ing the foil­ing process at night while watch­ing tele­vi­sion. Over­whelmed at times, she calms her in­tense work­load – an­swer­ing emails, pack­ing or­ders, cut­ting, foil­ing and sanding – by play­ing soc­cer four times a week.

Foo hopes to host stained glass work­shops, but for now she’s just try­ing to get through the hol­i­days.

“I’m not com­plain­ing,” she says, of her made-to-or­der vo­ca­tion. “The last two years have been crazy. I’ve had my whole fam­ily help­ing me at times. But I feel so lucky to have the work.”

Why hand­made things mat­ter: “We put our heart and soul into things. There is so much love put into hand­made things. Some­times lit­er­ally my blood. Even if I make two of the same thing, they’re go­ing to be dif­fer­ent,” says Foo. – Los An­ge­les Times/Tri­bune News Ser­vice

Foo with the stained glass sun­catch­ers that she made. She spends a lot of time mak­ing sure the colours are right. — TNS

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