Artist

Kathleen Mulcahy is an award-winning glass artist who lives and works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “Glass, “she says, “is the verb of my work revealed through the primal form of a drop”

Her glass drop installations incorporate bent and etched plate glass on patinaed or textured steel.  As an avid kayaker, she experienced a moment that changed .....

Kathleen Mulcahy is an award-winning glass artist who lives and works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “Glass, “she says, “is the verb of my work revealed through the primal form of a drop”

Her glass drop installations incorporate bent and etched plate glass on patinaed or textured steel.  As an avid kayaker, she experienced a moment that changed the direction of her art. A storm came upon the river suddenly. In its wake it left her with a moment of pure joy, of wonder, that she works to recreate in her drop installations.  Her inspiration, drawn from the natural world – water and rivers, often titled after excerpts from poems exploring the boundaries and freedoms that affect relationships; people to people and people to nature. Nature is the reflection point of her work. Kathleen pushes the limits of the medium, merging sculpture with craft to create masterful works in glass and metal.

Mulcahy received a Masters of Fine Arts in glass sculpture and three-dimensional design from Alfred University. Afterwards, she directed glass studio programs at Bowling Green State University in Ohio and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh then went on to develop the Pittsburgh Glass Center, one of the premier public access glass studios in the nation. During this time, her own work — installation pieces, cast glass, and blown glass objects — evolved into unique and poignant statements. Kathleen received Fellowship Awards from the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, the National Endowment for the Arts. the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Creative Glass Center of America.  She received The Lusk Memorial Award through the Fulbright Foundation, The Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation.  In 1992, she was named Artist of the Year by the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and Pennsylvania Artist of the Year by Governor Corbett in 2013. Her works are in many public and private collections including the American Craft Museum, The Corning Museum of Glass, The Carnegie Museum of Art, The Renwick Galleries of the Smithsonian Institution and The Westmoreland Museum of Art. In 1997, she was selected as Fellow of and Artist in Residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris.

Mulcahy positions herself as an internationalist – a word she coined to describe someone who uses art and the making of art to transform communities.  Drawing on individuals of different backgrounds and ethnicities, the community comes together to make and appreciate expression and skill in a unique and challenging material.

Though independent in their personal art practices, Mulcahy and her husband, Ron Desmett, were partners in creating commissioned work that showed the breadth of their talents together.  They created, for example, 100-foot steel I-Beam trees for the corporate headquarters of American Eagle Outfitters in Pittsburgh.  They also worked on suspended steel and glass sculptures for Harrisburg Corporate office of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, a glass block and painted wall for the Light Rail Transit in Pittsburgh and other public and private commissions.

Ron was also a partner in their shared community activism.  They created a public works project for the town of Carnegie that was recognized as one of the 100 small art towns in the country. They were sought after to create the public glass arts center that was a life’s work.  In 2016 Desmett passed away after a long battle with cancer.  Mulcahy continues their shared artistic endeavors.

Mulcahy credits Alfred University for giving her a life-long mantra.  Years ago, she walked by a marquee that described the school’s mission statement:  A liberal arts college, majoring in the human experience. 

 Her art touches lives – it speaks to the depth of humanity.

“Recently I had the opportunity to supervise an installation of mine here in Western Pennsylvania. This client, as a docent had seen my work for years at the Carnegie Museum of Art.  Later she became a board member at the Pittsburgh Glass Center, my baby.  I had only casual encounters with Kim when giving talks to groups at the Center.  Last September she approached me about a commission. I visited their lovely home and found a spot that Kim and John thought would have the most optimum visibility. I shot photos of the wall, then photo shopped an image in so they could see a relative example of how the work in that scale would look in that space.  They said yes!

It is above a fireplace in this gorgeous living room with full floor to ceiling windows that overlook nature.  Their deck is perched high above the land and overlooks rolling hills. Everything about their house shows a love of objects and an attention to a sensitive detail that merges with the natural environment.  We agreed on a date to have the installers come out. It turns out one was her brother a contractor involved in the renovations, also an excellent installer and I brought my friend Pete a retired contractor to help.

However, before we were started, we all had a light breakfast that Kim had prepared.  We just talked and talked about everything and anything.  I noticed a beautiful bouquet of roses that I thought she was going to put in a vase later on this wonderful kitchen island. There was no rush, we were getting to know each other.

As the work went up so expertly done, I could see the joy that it was giving to them. As we turned to leave that day, the work up, a view from outside and a walk around their property Kim gave me the roses to my absolute surprise.  It proceeded in the next few weeks where I would get a photo of light casting over the work from the windows or a shot in the evening and some installation shots while these magnificent roses continued to open and bloom reminding me of that day.  John would just send a quick note in days after to tell me how much they loved the work.  They adopted my work and I have adopted them. We have become friends and I will know them long into the future.”

Thank you for joining us!

Thank you for celebrating the first annual

Glass Art Fair!

We are honored to that you have taken the time to join us in a celebration of art.
The artists in this exhibition are sharing their work from around the world.