Meet the Artist Reception: Larry VerRan
For Jonesborough’s Larry VerRan, his stained glass guitar lamps represent more than a work of art – each one is a true masterpiece.
“It’s a lot of trial and error when making these pieces. I start with a real guitar and remove the top of the body, and then, I work on lighting the guitar. It’s fun to figure out what material works best to reflect light and how the wiring should be set up,” said VerRan. “Stained glass presents challenges of its own, but it’s not just stained glass when you’re trying to make a lamp out of a guitar – it’s also woodwork and electrical work.”
Larry VerRan created his first stained glass guitar in the spring to sell at A Work of Art Gallery & Gifts in Downtown Bristol, an artist cooperative of which he is a member. Within two weeks, the guitar sold in the gallery, and then a gentleman in Texas saw the first guitar on the gallery’s Facebook page. He commissioned VerRan to make his second guitar that incorporated the Texas flag. Fifty hours, several wooden reinforcements, and many feet of aluminum reflective tape later, he shipped the guitar to Texas to complete his second sale of the guitars.
VerRan has now completed a third guitar that is for sale in the gallery, and he doesn’t plan to stop creating them anytime soon, each a little different than the previous. “I keep learning better ways to craft them and I think they’ll get better every time. I have three more guitars in my studio ready to start.”
An artist since childhood, Larry VerRan considers himself a “dabbler”, working in a variety of media such as charcoal, pen/ink, acrylics, pastels, and — since 2007 — stained glass. VerRan recalls, “In 1973, I received a stained glass hummingbird as a gift from the youth group I had been leading, and I was completely mesmerized by how the light reflected and absorbed and how I could hold this piece of art in my hand and look at it from different perspectives. I always thought it would be great to learn how to make stained glass. In 1992, I took a 2-night evening class at ETSU to learn about stained glass, but I was working two jobs and never had the time or means to start creating things on my own.”
It was the desire to give his sister a stained glass gift when she quit smoking in 2007 that compelled him to create his first piece on his own. After the candleholder he created for her, he had many requests for commissioned stained-glass work for fishermen who he had contact with at his campground. The next year, in 2008, VerRan retired, but never stopped working on his craft. He now spends his days exploring and creating, always captivated and inspired by stained glass art.
To commission a stained glass guitar or see some of his other stained glass work, a meet-the-artist reception for Larry VerRan will be held at A Work of Art Gallery & Gifts, 600 State Street, Bristol, TN on October 29, 2016 from 1pm-4pm. For inquiries, Larry's contact information can be found on the gallery's website at www.aworkofartgallery.com.