MARQUETTE — In the lower level of the Masonic Mall, right in the heart of Downtown Marquette, you can find the studio where local artist Cindy Engle sells her unique creations.
“The art that I’ve been making the most recently is fused glass,” said Cindy. “I use a kiln to fire glass in. Some of it is done in molds, some of it is done flat on the kiln, and some of it is slumped over stainless steel.”
Cindy creates jewelry, decorations, and other items from fused glass. One special creation of Cindy’s is like taking a piece of Lake Superior home with you.
“One of the really cool things that I do that you’re probably not going to find anyplace else is things that look like they’re in the bottom of the lake,” said Cindy. “I actually make the stones out of glass, and I have a glass that looks like the sand and the water. They’re very cool.”
Cindy had been working with stained glass for some time about 30 years ago. However, she put her glasswork on hold in favor of safety for several years when she had a young child.
“Just about the end of that time, I was starting with fused glass, and then I didn’t do it for about 20 years,” Cindy explained. “Then I started about six or eight years ago again, and I just really fell in love with it. I like the creativity that you can find with the fused glass and the different things you discover that are so much fun.”
In addition to running her studio, Cindy is involved in many other community art and music organizations. She is the organizer of the annual OutBack Art Fair, where over 100 artists come together to display and sell their work. Cindy says that the OutBack Art Fair is not only an opportunity to showcase the abundance of artists this community has, but it’s also a place for those artists to connect with one another each year.
“We have a hugely talented community between music and art,” said Cindy. “We have just a huge talent bank. That weekend has become such a family weekend. Some of those artists have been with me for 23–25 years, so they’re like cousins and aunts and uncles. You’re always excited to see what’s new in their world when they show up for the holiday, which is what that weekend is like. It’s like a big holiday weekend.”
For Cindy, art isn’t just a career or a hobby; it’s who she is. She’s made a life out of sharing her love of art with fellow creators, the Marquette community, and now, her own grandchildren.
“Art is it as far as I’m concerned,” Cindy said. “It’s been part of my life for as long as I can remember, and now I love sharing it with my granddaughters. I think it’s the creativity and the artistic expression, just the way it can make the world a prettier place to be in.”
Cindy’s passion for art has made an incredible impact on so many people, and it certainly will affect many more in the years to come.