Patricia Brennan of De’Danann Glassworks not only has a longtime love of the light, color and joy that is stained glass but has managed to make a living creating it — you’ll see in a moment why she gets a chuckle out of that — as well as raise a family and learn a slew of new techniques during her nearly four decades as a glass artist in the mountains of Sperryville.
The subject of a new video in this year’s Artists of Rappahannock series on YouTube, Brennan is also an avid gardener; ample proof that she’s as skilled with soil and flora as she is with glass and lead can be found in the gardens that surround the home and studio she and her husband, the journeyman carpenter Don Mullan, designed and built at the end of Spyder Mountain Lane, not far from the edge of Shenandoah National Park.
In addition to hosting numerous workshops and offering a weekly open studio for budding and experienced glass artists, Brennan has also learned many ways of working with glass over the years.
“Glass just intrigues me,” says Brennan, who not long ago also completed a six-year project to create 14 large and stunning stained-glass windows for Macedonia Baptist Church in Flint Hill. “And I love that there’s always something new to learn. I work with regular stained glass, I silkscreen on glass, I etch on glass, I fuse glass . . . I slump glass [slumping is the tricky process of melting glass into pre-molded shapes] . . . There’s just so many different techniques . . . and I find that really exciting.”
Brennan was also the driving local force in the establishment of the Rappahannock County Artisan Trail, which remains one of the most active and popular of the statewide trails sponsored by the Artisan Center of Virginia, and she’s also one of the ACV’s juried artisans.
“A lot of times people say to me, ‘Oh, you’re so lucky to work for yourself for a living,’ and it makes me kind of chuckle,” says Brennan, “because without my husband [she breaks into a giggle at this point] . . . supporting myself and my children, it would be difficult to say that I am making a living.
“But after all these years of perfecting my craft and being dedicated to what I do, I finally am making a living,” she says, chuckling again. “But to get here . . . it takes a good support group.”
This video series was underwritten with a 2016 grant from the Rappahannock Association for Art and Community — which holds its annual Artists of Rappahannock Studio and Gallery Tour the weekend after next (Nov. 4-5). It’s a great opportunity to meet some of the artists profiled in this series, including Brennan, and get a first-hand look at their works.
The Video: Patricia Brennan
The entire series of videos on the Artists of Rappahannock, including this one on Sperryville stained glass artist Patricia Brennan can be found online at Synergist Media’s YouTube channel.
The videos, made possible with a grant from RAAC’s Claudia Mitchell Arts Fund, are produced by Rappahannock News Contributing Editor Roger Piantadosi, with photographer/videographer Luke Christopher. More online at synergistmedia.org.