Artist Profile

Laurette Rose

Story by Amy Armstrong

For years, Laurette Rose felt she had no artistic ability. Yet, she has always been intrigued by glass. “I love the way light interacts with glass,” she says. “Many times, my favorite feature of a piece is the reflection/shadow that is cast behind it. I like being able to control that effect.”

When she viewed a news segment nearly 15 years ago about a woman making glass plates in her apartment with her own kiln, Laurette was inspired.

“I thought to myself, hey, that is something I can do,” she says.

A lot of internet research supported her self-taught efforts. She bought a kiln for her new Anchorage home and went through a lot of trial and error, as she describes it, to learn – not necessarily master as of yet – the technical aspects of heating glass.

“The technical side of it is very interesting to me,” Laurette says. “Sometimes you put something in the kiln and what you pull out is not at all what you expected. The colors change or it overheats and bubbles. You have to get to know your kiln.”

One thing Laurette learned about her kiln from the get-go is how much power it takes to get them going. Her home actually didn’t have the electrical capacity at first. “Two of them required bringing in an electrician and installing 240v outlets,” she explains. “Chugach Electric had to come out and install a new line and the electrician had to install a new box."

For the most part, everything has run smoothly after that setup – nothing has happened that Laurette can’t handle, at least. Laurette has even replaced relays in her kiln flying solo, disassembling the control panel and reconfiguring wires in a confined space. The first time was daunting, she says, but rewarding. “Once you get through that, you feel like there’s probably nothing you can’t do,” she says confidently.

Laurette and her multiple kilns seem to have developed a solid working relationship. Her new gallery, Tiny Gallery, located in the same spot where Katie Sevigny got her start on Fourth Avenue in downtown Anchorage, has more than 100 examples of her work. The gallery, which just opened in spring 2019, features everything from functional glass coasters to one-of-a-kind bowls to full-size wall pieces that refract light through their surfaces creating yet another piece of art on the wall behind the glass piece. Laurette also provides display space for other artists.

It was almost as if the space on Fourth was calling to her. She’d walk past it and think to herself that another gallery should be in that space. Last December, she noted a “for rent” sign in the window.

“I wanted to open a gallery and make art fulltime,” she says. “I knew I wanted to be downtown to attract the kind of customers I want. It was perfect timing. It is just the place I needed to start and grow.”

Her background in accounting and project management turned out to be a huge plus in opening her own business. While she is still phasing out her part-time work doing freelance accounting, those skills guide her in making financial decisions.

“There isn’t anything that you cannot apply project management to,” Laurette jokes as she talks about the ins and outs of setting up a gallery.

“I take pieces that break, as well as scraps, and grind it up into frit, which I use in making new pieces,” she says, so even the breakage that is bound to occur with glass turns into a win-win.

See more of the artist’s work at Tiny Gallery, tinygalleryak.com.

— Julia Moore contributed to this article