Now back in Minnesota after stints in Oregon and New Mexico, Annette Paajanen has had a life-long interest in art and design. Her first hands-on experience with fused glass was in 2002 while living in heavily glass-focused Portland, Oregon. It was love at first cut, and her intended hobby very quickly became a passion.
Paajanen’s joy in the medium comes primarily from playing with the iridescence and transparency of glass, and often she incorporates copper – foil, mesh or wire – and occasionally brass into her pieces. The metals interact with the glass in unpredictable ways, which just adds to the fun. About that shiny fetish she has: she loves to use iridescent glass whenever feasible in her designs, in order to make pieces that really pop. Recently, she has been experimenting with textures to give her glass additional depth.
Her glass has been shown in galleries located in New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Oregon, Washington, California and Florida. One of her pieces was accepted for permanent display in 2010 in the Federal Courthouse in Las Cruces, NM, and two of her pieces were displayed as part of the 2009 Taos Art Glass Invitational. She also had several pieces juried into a 2011 show sponsored by the Ruidoso Regional Council for the Arts, celebrating 50 years of glass studio arts in America. In addition, she was commissioned to create a logo in fused glass for the Bank of the Rio Grande in Albuquerque.
Before she began fusing glass, Paajanen worked as a business writer, mostly collaborating with graphic designers to create corporate brochures and website copy. A lifetime ago, she was a physical therapist and worked in both hospital and nursing home settings.