Five Questions for Lynn Rovelstad of I Made It! Glass Creations.
By day, and sometimes night, the Indie Alley is a coworking and event space. But we’re also a big supporter of our community. We love connecting to the people, places and businesses around Marin. Meet Lynn Rovelstad. She owns I Made It! Glass Creations studio in San Rafael.
Lynn’s passion is fused glass: this is the process of applying colored glass shapes into a foundation piece of glass, and heating it in a kiln to 1500 degrees to liquify and fuse the glass into a one-of-a-kind creation.
Lynn’s a member of our Marin community and the feature of this installment of our Five Questions For… blog post.
-What is it about the medium of glass that spoke to you?
I have always loved art glass. Even when I was a child I was drawn to the art glass booths at fairs and places that sell glass art. I love that it is transparent but also solid. I love the way it captures the light and changes entirely with light behind it. The flexibility of glass also really intrigues me. It can be 2D or 3D. I love fused glass, because unlike other ways of working with glass, it is safe, for even beginners and little kids.
I love that with fused glass, we can start simple and get more complex depending upon where the customer wants to go. The sky is the limit! There is something that happens to the glass when fused. In addition to the surface smoothing, the colors brighten and pop. In our studio, we offer over 100 projects that can be made using fused glass. I love the look on people’s faces when they come to pick up and see what they made...What THEY made with glass…this is probably the best part of the business!
In our studio, customers are able to explore their creativity with few boundaries and are able to create with little if any assistance after they know the basics. It’s beyond fun to take customers from “I don’t have a creative bone in my body” to “I can’t believe I made it!” It’s just so great and what makes it all worthwhile
-What lessons have you learned from having been both in the corporate world and an entrepreneur?
I am an entrepreneur at heart and after working in the corporate world for 20 years, I could not do it any longer. It was just not for me though i wish it had not taken 20 years to figure this out! Starting a brand new concept has been MUCH harder than I expected. I love fused glass so much, that I just expected everyone to feel the same way and for it to take off like wildfire. This has not been the case, and I have had to work really hard for every foot that comes into the door. At the end of the day, I do love owning my own business and suspect that I will like it a lot more when we are out of the woods.
-Stories of people leaving their 9 to 5 jobs to pursue their passion always make people dream of making the same leap. What words of wisdom can you pass along from your experience making that transition?
I first had a business where I sold my fused glass art and also had a small cupcake business, where we sold cupcakes out of a funny travel trailer. I would highly recommend starting small and building up, especially if your business is brick and mortar. I learned a lot with the smaller business and was able to do things like form a corporation and get a business bank account before I had to start paying big time rent. I was very happy after I opened the glass studio that I had some experience under my belt before jumping off the high board.
-Why is creativity so important in our lives and how can we make sure to always have creativity in our day to day?
I am really passionate about the importance of incorporating the arts into who we are as a person. I was very creative as a child and very happy, but when I worked in corporate America I was not able to exercise the creative side of who I was and I felt like it was a big contributor to a lack of balance in my life.
I believe that creativity is not just a nice thing, but it is an essential thing for humans. There is mounting evidence that an imbalance between the right and left brain contribute to the terrible mental health issues and suicide rates that we are facing in the US. I feel that not engaging in art on some level, and not exercising both sides of the brain, is so short-sighted. Too many of us are like gerbils on a wheel focused on left brain activities and it’s messing with us as a society. Art is essential if you want to be happy and healthy. Bringing a new, fun, achievable medium for artistic self expression is probably the main reason that I opened I Made It! Glass Creations.
-What has your experience been being a female entrepreneur and business owner in Marin?
I have felt nothing but supported in Marin, both as a female and as a business owner. I was originally looking to open my new concept in the East Bay, but am so glad that it did not work. I am an active member of the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce and can not say enough good things about their support of me and the business. I am also a new member of Mission San Rafael Rotary in Marin, and they have been simply wonderful supporting me and the business. And did I mention that our customers are amazing? Just the kindest, most lovely people. I can’t tell you how many folks do nice things for me and the studio expecting nothing in return. I am beyond grateful to be in such a warm and welcoming community and now can’t imagine starting my concept in any other place!
Members: head over to I Made It! Glass Creations before the end of November and get 20% off anything you make. Just mention the Indie Alley. Not combinable with other offers.
Lynn Rovelstad was in conversation with Jen Ciraldo
I Made it! Glass Creations, 1936 4th Street, San Rafael, CA 94901, www.imadeitglass.com