Sodalyte, calcedon, crystals, Smalti glass, Italian marble. These are just some of the exotic materials that Gwen Basilica brings together to form her irresistibly touchable sculptural glass works of art. Glimmering, shimmering, smooth, rough, dark, bright, transparent, opaque — Basilica never tires of exploring and experimenting with glass.
Whether she's creating a small fine art piece to hang in a private home or a monumental public installation, Basilica says, "The glass speaks to me. I let it guide me — it does the talking."
Born and raised in New London, she and her husband, Tony, both graduated from New London High School in 1974. Basilica started making stained glass pieces as a hobby, while in high school, which she continued to do while raising four kids and working as a dental hygienist, her vocation for 28 years.
Basilica points out that it isn't such an unusual combination — being a dental hygienist and a glass artist. "Both take a lot of patience — working with small stones, working with teeth," she says.
About 10 years ago Basilica began doing mosaics. In contrast to traditional stained glass, the mosaics incorporate many types and textures of glass, and other materials, such as river rock, pottery, semi-precious stones and hand-painted tiles.
She is now a full-time glass artist and owner of Gwen Glass Custom Stained Glass and Mosaics, LLC in New London.