Glass artist having the best time of her life

Glass artist having the best time of her life


Denise Lanuti has almost certainly never been busier. Not only is she making lampwork beads — which she has done since way back in the 1980s — she’s also making sconces and nightlights and big, beautiful pieces of glass intended for display. And in the middle of all that, she’s inviting the public into her Fayetteville studio Dec. 7 for a holiday open house.

“I am having the best time of my life right now,” Lanuti says with almost-giddy delight. “I feel like I’ve gone through this creative explosion! I’m doing a lot of different styles and coming up with some really incredible designs!”

What Lanuti does wasn’t always so varied — or so complicated. Once upon a time, her art was all wearable and confined to weaving beads into earrings, pins and barrettes.

“I actually did really well with that small business, and it helped having a supplemental income for household repairs and vacations,” she remembers. Her favorite beads were cut glass from Czechoslovakia, and “when the market dried up and I couldn’t get those beads anymore due to the revolution in Czechoslovakia, I decided to buy a torch and some glass rods from Italy and start experimenting with beadmaking.

“There was no written material at that time about how to make beads, there were no videos. Nothing,” she says. “I melted so much glass trying to figure it out!”

It wasn’t long before Lanuti became well known as a lampwork bead artist, but the strain of sitting at the torch began to tell on her back. “I had to try other ways of working in glass,” she remembers.

“I had made a small fused glass dish out of some millefiori and glass rods that I used in beadmaking, and while doing a trunk show at Crystal Bridges, I was displaying some of my beads in this dish — and a customer wanted to buy the dish. Up until that moment, I really hadn’t considered pursuing fusing. But that’s all the prompting I needed.”

When Lanuti and husband Richard moved from Prairie Grove into a new house they built on Rock Street in Fayetteville, she was able to create the studio of her dreams — about 1,700 square feet and full of big equipment: Kilns, saws, grinders, glass cutting tables, light tables. “There are lots of sheets of glass, six different work stations for grinding, slicing, sandblasting, cutting… I like people coming by to see what I do and how I do it, because they’re actually really, really surprised.”

That doesn’t mean Lanuti has given up her original love for jewelry, however. More and more people are asking her to make lampwork beads incorporating the cremains of a family member, and “it has really been an honor and a privilege to make such a personal and treasured keepsake. It has meant a great deal to the families involved.”



Lanuti’s Glass

Studio Show

WHEN — 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 7

WHERE — 623 E. Rock St. (past the Confederate Cemetery) in Fayetteville

COST — Free

INFO — Email

Categories: In The News