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The Colors of Spirit


Shea Stanfield
Arts Columnist

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.” And it’s the spirit of imagination and inspiration that local glass artist Sandy Pendleton captures in each of her glittering and brilliant glass creations. 

Sandy grew up in the Detroit, Michigan area and credits her grandmother for her interest in creating. “She always had some crafty project ready to occupy us when we visited.” A few years later, college student Sandy and a friend loaded up their backpacks and headed off to discover Europe. This trip proved to be an important foundational piece for Sandy’s later glass creations. While in Paris, Sandy fell in love with the great cathedrals and their enchanting light filled spaces. She recounts colors dancing in the cavernous sacred spaces filtered by the brilliant hues of ancient stained glass panels.

After college, Sandy worked for many years in the computer field. Pursuing a career in the tech industry left little time for actually creating items by hand. But once Sandy left that world she describes, “stumbling into a kiln-fired glass class at a local community college and was, once again, dazzled by light and glass.” Incorporating what she learned in these early classes with her own imagination and ingenuity, Sandy moved into the arena of ancient glass craftsmen, with her own twist.

Today, Sandy and her husband spend their summers among the towering pines of Pinetop, Arizona and their winters at their home in Gold Canyon at the base of the Superstition Mountains. Wisely, she maintains a glass studio in both locations. For this reason, earth and botanical themes crop up regularly. She shares the example of her iridescent glass creation “Superstition Geode.” The piece assumes the mystery of the setting as the light, at sunset, casts its spell over the Superstition Mountains with changing intensity. Another piece, “Scarlet Bloom” is a piece about energy, inspired as Sandy gazed out over the forest during a still mountain morning, realizing every living thing lives within its own vibration of life’s energy.

Creativity runs in Sandy’s family; her sister Nancy Pendleton is a contemporary mixed media artist and a kindred spirit who shares common aesthetics and appreciations. The Wilde-Meyer galleries in Scottsdale and Tucson exhibit Sandy’s individual work, as well as the pieces she does in collaboration with her sister. Often, they work together to develop a glass focal point and then incorporate it into the context of a mixed media panel. Their project “Golden Rods” is a strong example of this sibling collaboration.

Ever changing as the glass and light, Sandy’s life reflects the journey of nature’s dynamics with her skill and knowledge base, making each piece uniquely inviting. Recently, Sandy took a glass-casting workshop with nationally known glass artist Jason Chakravarty. She recounts how challenging it was, but the experience and knowledge gained was priceless for pushing her own work forward. 

To view Sandy’s work, contact her, and to keep up with her exhibit schedule, visit her Web site: You will be enchanted by her light.

Contact Arts Columnist Shea Stanfield at