Self Portrait mirror and glass from the Fort Worth Ballet production of "Les Fleurs du Monde".
El Sol Y La Luna Yin Yang
I first learned to cut glass at the age of 16 in my eldest brother’s stained glass studio in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Coming from a family of artists and craftsmen, my father built a large studio behind our home for my mother’s ceramics/pottery studio, my brother’s stained glass classes, and my sister's dance studio! I studied glass design and technique with my brother until I left to attend college at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. My early glass works reflected my interest in nature and classical ballet.
My first career as an artist was in classical ballet. After receiving my B. F. A. in ballet, cum laude, from T.C.U. I danced professionally with several ballet companies and musical theater productions touring the country. In my dance career I performed with Louisiana Ballet, Fort Worth Ballet, Ballet West, Florida Ballet, Los Angeles Chamber Ballet, Ballet Alaska, Florida Ballet, Casa Mañana Summer Musicasl, Dallas Summer Musical , The National Tour of Fiddler on the Roof and more! I was an official ballet and musical theatre gypsy. I moved to Austin from Los Angeles after dancing for the Olympic Arts Festival in 1984. I accepted a contract from Ballet Austin and danced with the company in its professional beginnings. An ankle injury at Ballet Austin advanced my career plans. After having danced for Ballet Alaska as a guest artist, I was asked to serve as Producing Artist Director of Ballet Alaska and ballet master for Alaska Contemporary Dance Company. A great desire to move back to Texas, specifically Austin, resulted in the formation of two new dance companies in Austin. I served as artistic director of the Austin Contemporary Ballet and Texas Youth Ballet for eight years. As an Artist in Residence for The Texas Commission on the Arts I worked with dance companies throughout Texas.
During my travels as a dancer/choreographer I would set up a table for stained glass
in the corner of my room to create new works. I created glass art for friends and
clients throughout the country. A Jacksonville Florida beach house features an Art
Deco style Flamingo and Beach window installed while dancing with Florida Ballet.
Other window installations inspired by love of classical ballet include: Nutcracker
themed windows in Fort Worth, Texas; The White Swan window in Los Angeles;
Le Corsair windows in Salt Lake City; and Don Quixote in Austin.
Randall's Stained Glass Studio and Silkwater Glass:
After ballet and a life changing illness I found more time to explore my love
for antiques, cutting glass and drawing. My backyard studio was first equipped for antiques
restoration as I worked part-time for a friend’s antiques business.
Gradually the dedicated work space for stained glass production outgrew the antiques
restoration area and Randall’s Stained Glass Studio home of Silkwater Glass was established-
My design work reflects the formal and informal training in the arts from university and college classes to knowledge gained from museums and historic sites toured throughout my dance career. Besides my training with my brother, I worked with Austin artist Damian Priour in his early stained glass studio in town. I was introduced to Damian at a Ballet Austin function when he served as a member of the board of directors. We shared our love of stained glass and he graciously invited me to work in his studio.
In working with glass as a medium I enjoy the challenge of reducing a drawing to its essential form, relying on the simplest line to depict a subject. I recognize the boundaries of designing for glass and attempt to exceed them. I work in both the Tiffany copper-foil technique and lead came technique- often designing to combine both in one piece.
A most critical moment of the design process is choosing glass for the artwork. Color, gradation and consistency of color, texture, transparency, grain, and surface luster are characteristics I consider for each piece of the glass puzzle. I often rely on salvaged antique glass or glass that I have been saving for years for the right project.
Randall's Stained Glass Studio is located at 506 B Bellevue Place behind the Austin Historic Landmark Adkins-Tharp Home. The converted cottage serves as home base for the artist's studio.
My glass work, like many artists’, is a reflection of my environment and current interest. My own garden and botanical specimens serve as models for my “Glass Gardens” series. Texas landscapes are executed in an Arts and Crafts style. The ballet-inspired “Dancer in Glass” series are designed with Art Deco or Victorian style frames. Traditional windows reflect the history of glass designs. Modern geometric based designs explore the intersection of mathematics and art.
Thanks for visiting my site.
Randy Soileau (pronounced Swa-low) - yes crazy Creole French name - all the vowels! translates - Silk Water
Link to Tracie Harris's interview of Randall from the Art 84 Collaboration during the East Austin Studio Tour :