Display at River’s Edge Gallery through May 21
By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – The display of Susan Mesler’s wire weaving sculpture with the late Karnig Dabanian’s veiled, translucent glass is aptly named “Serendipity,” having been launched when the glass maker’s widow met the sculptress.
Dabanian was a gifted inventor and artisan, who studied design and glass blowing at the Toledo Museum of Art in the 1960s. He was a founding partner of Poultry Glass Works, the first independent glass making studio in Detroit, where he worked until 1998.
His glass is translucent, with airy, reflective layers that intertwine, and appear suspended within the glass fob sized piece. In the 1980s he created small glass pieces intended to become jewelry. When he died in 2006 at 84, less than 35 of the small glass pieces were still in existence.
Mesler’s first career was as a pharmacy technician at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Allen Park. When it closed in 1985, she became an elementary math and science teacher.
When she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in 2015, she left teaching. When chemotherapy left her with very little feeling in her fingertips, she enrolled in a therapeutic art class through the Healing Arts Group at the Henry Ford Cancer Institute in Woodhaven.
Mesler met artist Patricia Izzo there, who became her mentor, and supplied support and encouragement as she developed as an artist.
When her work was on display during the Healing Arts Group annual show at the Downriver Council for the Arts, Judy Dabanian, Karnig’s widow, asked her to make three pendants, one for each of her daughters, from her late husband’s glass.
“It is one of those coincidences that is impossible, when this artist meets the widow who has these incredible glass pieces,” said Rivers Edge Gallery owner Pat Slack.
The display runs through May 21 at Rivers Edge Gallery, 3024 Biddle in Wyandotte. For gallery information, go to artattheedge.com.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected])