In 1996 Laurie Spieker, a life-long enthusiast of stained glass, acquired a room of her own – a dedicated work space with a sturdy work bench. Here she began learning that, with glass, the “material teaches the artist”. In 2007 she established Grand River Glassworks.
Laurie received a B.A. in Honours English from the University of Waterloo (2000). She has gained insight and education about various glass fusing techniques with Don McClennen (2007), Patty Gray (Advanced, 2008), Peter McGrain (Vitri-Fusaille, 2008) and Michael Dupille (Fritography, 2009).
Laurie has been a member of UpTown Gallery since its inception in 2006. UpTown Gallery is a unique and dynamic artists’ collective, featuring local fine artists. UpTown Gallery is open 7 days a week, and showcases new work bi-monthly.
Laurie is also a Gallery Shop Artist at The Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery, since 2007. The Clay & Glass is a premier Canadian venue for glass and ceramic artists – through its critically acclaimed exhibitions and a Gallery shop par excellence – it is worth a visit and admission is free.
Both institutions are located in the heart of Uptown Waterloo.
Through the initiative of The Clay and Glass Gallery, Laurie was Artist Mentor for a large-scale Public Youth Art Project. During April – October 2012 area high school students created a fused glass artwork entitled Glass Fourteen. In June 2013, Glass Fourteen was permanently installed in RIM Park (Manulife Financial Sportsplex) and was entered into the permanent art collection of the City of Waterloo.
Laurie was one of nine Ontario glass artists chosen to participate in the first FUSION Glass Mentorship program, held at Sheridan College with Mentor and Glass Studio Head, Koen Vanderstukken. The mentorship facilitated change and new direction in this group’s artistic visions as each artist worked separately in their studios then gathered to discuss their current and previous work, their sources of inspiration and future paths to travel in their creativity. The Mentorship culminated in a group show – entitled PUSH – that has been exhibited at the Living Arts Centre Gallery, Mississauga, from November 2013 to January 2014, and at The Thunder Bay Art Gallery, from June to September 2014.
In 2015, Laurie was chosen as the Folk Artist-in-Residence at the Joseph Schneider Haus. Throughout the year Laurie contributed to ongoing programs at the museum. She was featured in a solo exhibit entitled Reflections of the Natural World, from February to April, and delivered a public lecture, Discovering the Art in Glass. Laurie facilitated on-site glass fusing workshops – exploring glass reactivity during March Break, making beautiful pendants for Mother’s Day, exploring our Funny Bones for Hallowe’en and ornament making for Christmas. Laurie demonstrated stained glass techniques during the Grand National Quilt Show and attended festivities for Culture Days. The FAIR program is sponsored by the Friends of the Joseph Schneider Haus, and Laurie was grateful for this opportunity.
A beautiful new book, Under These Skies, was launched on October 19, 2016, at Grand River Glassworks. This chapbook from Stonegarden Studios features selected poetry from Rienzi Crusz and images skillfully captured from Laurie’s glass art. Judith Mclean Miller writes: Rienzi Crusz and Laurie Spieker are among the company of writers and artists in Waterloo Region. Each works with rich imagery, in words or in stained glass, giving expression to their responses to their place. The generous support of the Cowan family has made this lovely book possible.
Laurie is online in the Art$Pay Professional Artists Directory – Glass