NEW TIMES What attracts you to fused glass?
STILLMAN I’ve always enjoyed looking at glass, but not thought I could do anything with it. But I found a book that helped me start—you start with stained glass and work your way from there. I actually used to be a quilter, and that helped me with this, with the way patches of colors are combined.
NEW TIMES Could you describe the process a little bit?
STILLMAN Well, you have a limited palate of colors that are produced commercially, that you can use. That’s where the fun starts, figuring out how to push colors to their limit.
NEW TIMES You have a collection of jewelry shaped like puzzle pieces, representing Autism Awareness; and money from those pieces goes towards Autism programs. What draws you to that cause?
STILLMAN I was the Director of the Center for Educational Therapy. Day in and day out people would go in for therapy or counseling sessions, and I’d get groups of parents coming into my office to cry. After I decided to do my own thing, and pursue art like I’d wanted to do for so long, I found myself alone in my studio, not being social like I used to, and missing it. And then, by making [this autism awareness jewelry and taking it to events], I had found a way to combine these two things. Last year alone, I raised $35,000 for autism programs across California.