Avon resident and gallery owner Sheree Ferrato says the world is more beautiful when you see it through a full spectrum of color.
For 36 years, Ferrato has been mastering the art of stained glass, creating works with primarily a nature-driven focus. The artist’s initiation into stained glass dates back to the early 1980s, when she was in the second group of apprentices training under Narcissus Quagliata, an internationally recognized stained-glass artist who was born and raised in Italy and immigrated to Oakland, Calif. After a four-year apprenticeship, she returned home to Northeast Ohio.
“He taught me the British method,” she says, which uses light tables, for which you cut the pieces, as opposed to the German method, for which people cut patterns. Ferrato adds she has been attracted to stained glass because it’s a three-dimensional art form. “It requires light. It integrates color and nature. It takes those components and incorporates them into a form of media, a hands-on art form. It builds hand-eye dexterity.”
Recognizing that she wasn’t one who wanted to be isolated in a studio, Ferrato expanded her knowledge beyond the gallery. “I knew from the start that I was committed to education.” So, Verite Stained Glass, her Avon studio, became a place where she can both create and teach.
Ferrato’s clients have ranged from local libraries and hospitals to major national and international corporations. From 1994 through 2000, she taught personal development courses at USS Kobe Steel in Lorain. She holds classes for groups of women, instructing them in the art of stained glass and the creation of dichroic pendants, a type first developed by NASA for its space suits but now commonly used by glass blowers and jewelry designers.
Nature is the most prominent theme in her personal work. “The patterns of nature can’t be repeated. People identify with them,” she explains. She donated her most recent work, a 45-inch, clear-background, circular window with stained-glass butterflies and hummingbirds, to the North Ridgeville Branch Library. “They wanted something everyone can appreciate,” she says. Three other Lorain County libraries also house her work.
Most recently, Ferrato completed an 8-foot-wide-by-8-foot-tall wall of glass dedicated to cancer survivors who were patients at Parma Community Hospital. Nine panels representing of nine species of trees contain 96 leaf-shaped hooks. Leaves that are indigenous to each of the trees were created in metal and will be engraved with patients’ names. After completing the project, she was approached by the hospital’s Women’s Committee to create pieces for the atrium lobby. “We want to create a positive environment for those undergoing treatment,” she says.