"Soulsisters" ---original sculpture, 2002
I was born in the Chicago area, but quickly learned that I hated the cold weather, so my family and I moved to the west coast of Florida when I was 15. After graduating Countryside High School in 1989, I moved to the US Virgin Islands, where I fell in love with the art of flameworking. As a natural entrepreneur, I opened and operated my first retail store, The Glass Gallery, in St. Croix at the age of 19. Soon after, I moved to St. Thomas and opened two small gift store locations in Havensight Mall and in Coral World, specializing in glass sculpture sealife designs and jewelry while providing excellent customer service to tourists from all over the world. I moved back to Florida in 1994, where I continued learning the basic techniques and skills of torch work. Between 1996-1999, I demonstrated and worked as the on-site glassblower at a gift store on the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs, which forced me to learn this complicated artform very quickly. In 2000, I moved to Spring Hill, Florida, where I enjoyed the serenity of my backyard home studio, raising my sons, and growing my company. During these years I exhibited at many art shows and traveled throughout Florida, while working on my unique product line and sculptural techniques. In 2014, I began Cech Glass, Inc., which encompassed the growth of my online presence through my website, MelanieCechGlass.com, marketing campaigns, and developed an apprenticeship program for flameworking. After moving to St. Petersburg, Florida in the summer of 2015, I have refocused on some new opportunities and am excited to see what 2017 has in store! My life has been an incredible journey so far, and I look forward to rolling with the changes this year, meeting new people, and seeing what the future has to offer! But as always, I will never stop creating..............................and I will keep all of my fans posted............
Pearl Nautilus with Tendrils on Coral--Large
The Cech Glass slogan or mission statement is Vision. Creativity. Strength. This path was not always clear to me in the beginning. I spent relentless hours on the torch, only knowing that I loved the feel of melting glass, and shaping it into something that was unique and pretty. The fact that people loved it too and wanted to buy what I had made with my own hands was also very empowering. It put me on a path I hadn't envisioned before, and realized it was to help me understand the complexities of my early life, and the Vision become clear. I had relied on my Creativity and Strength to endure life's struggles and hardships. All three elements came together to become a successful glass artist, and the skills and experience I have developed will help me in the next phase of my life, and something that I will never forget!. Learning this beautful artform has taught me self reliance, rugged individualism, and independence. We all want to be free, and free to choose whatever it is we want to be. I can't wait to see what life has to offer me next..................
Palm tree earrings and pendant set
VISION. CREATIVITY. STRENGTH.
My philosophy is to create something of value and beauty that is authentic, unique, and desirable to people of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds. It is a truth that represents the strength in the details and experiences we each have, which are relevant to the bigger picture of our lives---where we are going and what we stive to achieve. My designs represent a belief and idea that you can succeed if you rely on your talents and abilities. It represents a freedom to work, freedom to dream, freedom to believe, and freedom to live. It is a philosophy that an individual ultimately has the power to change their path, with hard work, intelligence, determination, and endurance. Once you understand the dance between the glass and the flame, you can control what is in front of you, and you control your destiny. My signature piece, the Nautilus, is a symbol of life - a symbol of growth, fluidity, and renewal. It represents the movement of life as we progress down our path, always remembering our past. The curves of the spiral are constant, never change, while the grace and uniqueness of the tendrils always change, as it is in life.
Melanie in the studio