Ashland glass artist displaying work in Venice after winning contest

ASHLAND, Ore.– A local artist from Ashland will be showcasing some of her work at Venice Glass Week in Italy.

Leah Fairbanks has been making art out of glass for decades and her work is displayed all over the world.

Glass beads are what she specializes in and she says it can take hours to put each of these together.

Her work has taken her all over the world, both for displaying her art in museums as well as teaching.

“I’ve taught in Japan, France, Italy, Ireland, Australia twice,” she said.

Now, her work is going international once again, this time to Italy.

Fairbanks was one of a handful of artists selected to display their work at Venice Glass Week, which she describes as the pinnacle of glass-work.

“For a glass worker, that’s it,” Fairbanks said, “that was a competition and there were artists from over 15 countries from around the world, and I was one of the artists chosen to be part of the exhibit.”

Fairbanks typically sells her art at the Lithia Artisans Market in Ashland on weekends.

She also co-owns the Ashland Artisan Emporium with her husband, Derek Lusk.

Originally from California, she’s lived in the Rogue Valley for the past 19 years, doing her various glass-work.

“I started with stained glass windows, so I used to do big installations for businesses and then I did neon work and fused glass in place. But then when I started making the beads, just manipulating the hot glass in the flame, that was it for me,” she said.

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NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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