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Serena Dionysus

Serena has lived in Northern California her whole life. She grew up in Concord and came to Santa Cruz when she transferred from Diablo Valley College to University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC). She stayed in Santa Cruz after graduation and was employed at the university for 27 years. The last 15 years she was an events coordinator for students at Crown College (one of 10 residential colleges at UCSC). She began taking art classes at Cabrillo College in Aptos after retirement. 

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My Art Story

Prior to retirement my art projects nearly always had a practical application. If I wanted to create something I figured out how and when I was done I moved on to a new medium or project. I have welded railings for my backyard deck, done mosaic on the outside of my house, made a lamp shade out of woven copper wire, and used my torch to make glass drawer pulls for my kitchen and hot-glass beads. I knit, sew when necessary, paint a little, and have worked a bit with both stained glass and concrete. I’ve been making earrings and jewelry for myself since high school. It has been fun to switch from project-based art to making art for art’s sake. 


The variety of media I have explored and used taught me that there are many ways to achieve an effect. I am open to combining materials and techniques in order to try to create what I can see in my mind’s eye. Try is the important word in that sentence. Because I experiment it’s not uncommon to end up with something other than what I intended. I love that because it is the unexpected results that are repeatable that make my art unique.

My Art Process

Color and shapes define my work. I work with cut glass, soft pastels, and alcohol ink primarily. Everything I do gets finished with Art Resin’s 2-part epoxy resin ( I love how the high gloss enhances the vibrancy of the colors.  Sometimes glass is the centerpiece of my work and other times it is an accent. Either way the layering and interplay of the various textures and colors catches the eye and invites a closer look.My bottle lamps are usually decorated before the resin is applied. They turn for 24 hours on a rotisserie to keep the resin even. The resin provides UV protection for the colors and breakage protection for the bottles.   The bottles are glass (lots of wine bottles but others too). I cut off the bottoms then use a glass grinder to make scallops on the edge. The scallops are both decorative and functional - they allow airflow so the lamps can be used with candles but also look nice when the bottles are pendant lights.

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