Edmonds Art Beat: Embracing color and brightness to lift spirits, featuring JLS Glass Studio

Combed glass art by JLS Glass.

An interview with local artists Lori and Joel Soderberg:

Lori, a retired schoolteacher who previously taught at Meadowdale Elementary, and Joel, a software engineer, have been creating art together for a long time now. Starting with pottery, they continued to experiment and attempted putting glass in their kiln after hearing from a friend that this could be done, and from there, hilarity ensued.

Combed glass art.

Joel and Lori enjoy the mystery behind their work. When working with kiln-formed glass, you never know what you are going to end up with until the creation is complete. This element of surprise when entering the studio remains a draw for this unique art form. In addition to surprise, working with glass has brought in a joyful array of colors and a technical construction element, creating a fun puzzle for the couple to figure out. Amazingly, for every piece they have created, there has been an element of togetherness —  both Lori and Joel have had some input on each item they have created. And that is a lot of items!


Glass art pieces from Joel and Lori, the artists of JLS Glass Studio, have been shown throughout Edmonds — at local galleries, Cascadia Art Museum and currently at Crow. Their artwork can be found locally, nationally and even internationally. Everett’s Schack Art Center is another location where many pieces can be seen, and where JLS Glass Studio will be featured on the center’s virtual studio tour this Sunday. Schack Art Center, where Lori contributes as a board member, has recently offered virtual (and free) studio tours to highlight many local artists. Learn more here.

Functional piece

One of the things that really stands out with the glass work created by this dynamic duo is the embracement of color and brightness. They shared how they felt color can lift people’s spirits right now and bring more “happy” into our lives. They are hopeful that their pieces can break up some of the dreariness and stress that many are facing right now, and their artwork is their way to provide something that could lift people’s spirits. To purchase a piece of their art, check out their website here or their Instagram page here.

Functional piece

In closing the interview, I asked how it is for each of them working with their spouse on creative projects. (Inquiring minds want to know!) Their response was that even after being married for over 30 years, they each touch and work on every piece they create, and they are still married! In a lovely description Joel shared, he said: “It’s a different type of dance.”

Earth Day Toilet Paper Roll Challenge:

The Edmonds Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department is offering an Earth Day contest. Create your own artwork re-using toilet paper tubes and send in an image to compete. Entries must use toilet paper rolls and items you have at home, one entry per person. Prizes are for top three entries in each age bracket: 5 and under; 6-10, 11-15, and 16 and over. Each winner will receive a gift card to Revelations Yogurt in Edmonds. More information can be found by emailing here.

Cole Gallery supporting front-line staff and our community

Cole Gallery has graciously offered 25% of all art sales from now through April 30 to the 100 million mask challenge. Artwork can be viewed on the Cole Gallery website and can be shipped or delivered directly to your front door.

In addition to Cole Gallery supporting the front-line workers, it is also creating offerings for those individuals who are interested in using this time as an opportunity to work on their own art skills. Check out the newest online class offerings by local business Cole Gallery here. 

2020 Edmonds Arts Festival cancellation

As many are aware, the 2020 Edmonds Arts Festival has unfortunately been canceled due to the COVID-19 crisis. The artists who display at this and other festivals are suffering loss of the income they depend on from these events. Edmonds Arts Festival has created a website where these artists’ festival entries are displayed, so please support these artists in any way you can.

The Northwest Watercolor Society

While many festivals are being canceled, some are finding innovative ways to continue. The Northwest Watercolor Society’s Annual Membership Exhibition, Waterworks Unchained, is being offered fully online at www.nwws.org from April 28 to Sept. 12, 2020.

More ways to support the Edmonds arts community – as shared by the Edmonds Arts Commission

  • Make a donation to a favorite organization
  • Donate the cost of your ticket for a canceled show instead of requesting a refund
  • See a show or view “virtual galleries” online
  • See if you can purchase goods or service online from a local artist or gallery

Closures and Cancellations

The following are known to be closed and/or canceled, please confirm on your own before making any schedule changes.

  • Edmonds in Bloom
  • Edmonds Arts Festival
  • Edmonds Jazz Connection
  • Edmonds Center for the Arts: Events currently postponed
  • Art Walk Edmonds: April has been canceled
  • Edmonds Library: Temporarily closed
  • Edmonds Theater: Temporarily closed
  • Frances Anderson Center: Temporarily closed
  • Cascadia Art Museum: Temporarily closed
  • Edmonds Historical Museum: Temporarily closed
  • Gallery North: Temporarily closed
  • Edmonds Driftwood Players: Current season has been canceled
  • Phoenix Theater: No events currently
  • Black Box Theater: Events canceled

— By Rachel Gardner

Rachel Gardner has a heartfelt appreciation for art in all forms and believes everyone is an artist, some just don’t know it yet. A dedicated and involved Edmonds resident, she can often be spotted onstage cracking jokes between sets or in the audience enjoying local live performances. She enjoys being playful with her art and finding unique ways of expression, like forming a boho-grunge-folk ukulele trio with local Edmonds moms.

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