This article originally appeared in the January 30, 2019 issue of Wareham Week and was written by Meghan Neely. Photo courtesy: Brenda Morrison
Groovy, bold and colorful. Those are the words Wareham artist Brenda Morrison uses to describe her work. A Quincy native, Morrison has been making and selling handcrafted glass items for over 25 years. Her next art show will be on Feb. 9 in Marion, at the For the Love of Art Trunk Show. The show, hosted by Marion architect Anthi Frangiadis at 11 Spring St., will feature Morrison’s glass alongside clothing items from South Dartmouth Artist Janice Kissinger and run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Morrison specializes in jewelry, shaping hundreds of unique beads in her Wareham studio by day before assembling them into earrings, necklaces and bracelets by night. She also makes housewares, fashioning colorful glass handles for knives and other kitchen utensils.
“It started out as a hobby,” Morrison said. “Then it turned into a full blown obsession.”
Morrison’s early career was in healthcare, but she said her true passion was always art. She dabbled in photography for a while, and took weekend classes whenever she could find them. She took her first lampworking course at Snow Farm in Williamsburg while she was still working at the Boston’s Children’s Hospital. The experience, she said, was transformative.
“Every night I came home, my husband said I was like a different person,” Morrison recalled. “I was just so happy with what I was doing.”
Morrison said she spent the next six months gathering her own glass working equipment before finally quitting healthcare all together. She then began making glass full time with help from her husband, Jim Keane. The road to success was paved with many challenges, however.
“I’d be up until 11 o’clock some nights just burning glass,” she said. “And I’d wonder all the time if people would actually be interested in what I was doing.”
Countless late nights, scars and broken beads later, Morrison said she finally found her niche. She began selling her work at art shows both locally and internationally, and people took notice of her glass’s loud and colorful style. Soon, Morrison said she had a national audience and collection of returning clients, including celebrities like Martha Stewart and Alice Cooper. She then gave her glass working business a name, Jasmine Keane, after the family’s cat.
“I’m extremely lucky,” Morrison added. “My art provides a very nice life for me and my family; but it isn’t just some part-time job. It’s a lifestyle.”
Morrison said she’s always working in some way, be that at the torch or on her sketch pad. Even when she’s driving or out running errands, Morrison said she’s always think of what to make next. Each month, Morrison tries to do at least two art shows: one locally and one nationally.Despite living in neighboring towns, Morrison said Frangiadis first discovered her glasswork across the country while visiting Washington.
“People had been telling me I should reach out to her,” Morrison said. “It’s a small world, really.”