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Check Out Ashley Akerlund’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Akerlund.

Hi Ashley, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
My story is about creating harmony for myself and the people I cross paths with through art. Many of my animal creatures are inspired by individuals I have crossed paths with, mostly the elderly.

I have been a fused glass artist for 12 years. I started working with glass when I signed up for a fun class for a college credit. Instantly, I fell in love and all I wanted to do is work with glass! Being a broke college student, glass is not exactly affordable. So I worked hard during Nursing School to support my glass dream.

My husband kindly bought my first kiln for my graduation present in 2011 and the glass addiction took over! I opened my Etsy shop in 2012 and worked hard to create unique designs that would be meaningful to my customers! Everything I do since my initial class is self-taught through experimentation.

In 2015, I became pregnant and took a loooong vacation (five years) from glass as I grew my family and nursing career. I chose to take care of my babies and my elder friends at a nursing home, but I longed for my glass art.

In 2019, I was BURNT out in my nursing role and desperately needed change. So I quit and returned to my therapy; glass! Now I am a glass-time artist and a part-time nurse who couldn’t be more at peace with my life.

To be very honest and transparent, I suffer from depression and anxiety since I was. Kid. Glass work is my outlet and helps with keeping the darkness out. The elders I worked with at the nursing home had their struggles too and many of my night lights are an homage to them.

I choose to share this about myself to help others who may feel hopeless and apathetic. I want to create light (figuratively and literally) hoping it creates joy and comfort through this journey of life.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Is life supposed to be smooth? I have had a fortunate life with some external mishaps. However, the majority of my struggles came from myself not allowing to accept myself. For a while I stopped everything I loved including art. I lived like this until I could not take it (over five years!) and it forced me to change (a lot of convincing from my husband helped too!). During this time of healing, I created goals. One of my personal goals was to return to glass. It has been three years of self-love and I found one of my journals during from my tough time and I realized I met ALL my goals! The power of mind is incredible and art has always been therapy for me. Now I am creating a relationship with the world again through glass and seeing people connect with my work is a privilege.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I have never really categorized my style. I know I like colors, nature, and surrealism and for some reason glass chose me to work with it. Since each of the pieces are different (even when I try to copy myself), I think about the human it was made for. Each person that crosses paths with my art is different and unique and I love to think about how my pieces were meant for their new owners. It is a neat experience to see someone walk straight up to my piece and know it is theirs!

People are so kind and complimentary when it comes to my work and I am slowly starting to realize I am not that bad at art 🙂 I think what I am proud of the most is the growth art has allowed me to receive. Self-doubt can be a real pain in the ass, so it is a good form of therapy for me and I am proud of myself for allowing this in my life.

Before we go, is there anything else you can share with us?
Not really, I appreciate the time and energy everyone has put into helping me succeed. So honestly, I just want to say thank you!

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