A B.C. artist is using her skills as a glass flame worker to provide those who have lost loved ones with a unique opportunity to keep their memories close.
From her backyard shed turned glass work studio, Langford’s Kimberly Anne Reid carefully hand sculpts delicate glass jewelry, incorporating a small amount of cremated remains in each piece. The result is a one-of-a-kind peice of art which literally lets people keep their loved ones close to their heart.
“I always wanted to help people, but I was not really specific with that and never envisioned glass being a way to help people,” Reid said. “But these memorial pieces are very healing, and it is amazing to just be able to help people and give them these beautiful pieces. People are drawn to them, and they get into conversations with others.”
Originally from Amherst, N.S., Reid first developed an interest in glass work during her self-described “hippy” years. Eager to make things she could share with her family more easily than pipes, she pivoted to jewelry, starting to build her skills at NSCAD University, but mostly by teaching herself and settling on Vancouver Island in 2001.
Specializing in the use of “hard glass” – known properly as borosilicate glass or commonly as Pyrex glass – rather than the “soft glass” more common in glass art. The result is a more durable piece of art, at the cost of more effort in its creation.
Incorporating cremated remains first came at the request of one of her roommates after the passing of their great-grandmother.
”She was kind of the anchor for the family,” said Reid. “I was later invited to a wedding reception where all the people I made pieces for were in attendance, and everyone had a different story about what their piece meant to them, and I was just so touched and moved by the way everybody wore them for different reasons.”
Reid took a break from work specifically incorporating cremated remains, adding silver smithing to her roster of skills, but now she is refocusing her business Mystic Glass Creations on cremation keepsakes, and plans on growing with this new direction.
“The more I do these cremation pieces, the more I feel like it is my calling.”
Once the business is up and running, Reid plans on taking a bit of a step back from producing pieces, and instead focusing on designing them. While she will continue to produce some of the glass work, her vision is to partner with other local artists to produce pieces based on her designs.
“It will be people who are already specialized in fine jewelry making,” she said. “That’s great because I can also support other artisans from the West Coast.”
While Reid is in the process of an eventual re-brand, potentially in partnership with funeral homes and vets, her work is available through her website mysticglasscreations.com.