As long as she can remember, Judy Davies has been interested in the arts. She identifies herself as “one of those students who’d paint the murals on the school walls.” But she figured out very young how to infuse her love for the arts with a sense of practicality.
“I was always an entrepreneur,” she says. “Although I went to college with the intent of becoming a writer, I always made money as an artist and it soon became my livelihood.” While she was a young mother, Davies painted murals for clients in dozens of Orange County homes. She also worked for a furniture company and painted abstracts to complement their leather sofas. She says, “in reality, an artist always has to balance passion with earning a living.”
It was the love that Davies had developed for working with glass that has provided her with the most significant earning potential, as well as what may eventually become something of a legacy. This was cultivated over time as Davies accompanied her father on visits to shops where he would add to his growing collection of colored glass scraps. Davies ended up with several large boxes. Each time she moved, she took the boxes.
Eventually, the time was right and Davies began turning toward glass to support herself. She used a small inheritance to buy a large work table, some glass, and began working in her garage. A small ad in The Press-Enterprise offering classes brought her five responses! She was soon in business and teaching.
Davies became involved in a project through the Riverside Art Museum where designers were invited to redesign the interiors of large, older homes. Her work attracted the attention of interior designer Robert Baker from Redlands, who commissioned Davies to build glass sidelights for his new home.
“Soon I remodeled my garage into a real studio with air conditioning, large windows, and glass racks, and later moved to a larger building,” she says. “After long hours and hard work I had achieved my goal of being part of the 1 percent of artists who make a living from art.” For Davies, who has lived in Riverside for the past 40 years, teaching is the favorite part of her work. For more information see facebook.com/JudyDaviesArt.
Article by: Lee Levin, Blue Door Museum Store