LC Tobey draws inspiration from Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian and her own past memories of the world to create her stained glass art. For Tobey, staining glass is how she expresses her inner person through color, line, texture and technique.

Tobey’s work was featured for the artist of the month display at Legend Bank in Bonham in August.

“Art makes me feel good about myself and spills over to those that enjoy it,” she said. “I love to make people smile and escape into the art.”

Tobey was living in Chicago when she first made her escape into staining glass. She took a class and then started working with the late Robert Cooper of Cooper Art Glass in Chicago.

“Robert Cooper did a lot of restoration work on the Frank Lloyd Wright Home Studio located in Oak Park, Illinois,” she said.

From then on, staining glass has been very important to Tobey. She said that it is important to preserve the techniques used to create stained glass because it is not just a part of art history, it is a part of history.

“Because stain glass has become less popular in today’s culture I switched my focus to fused glass,” she said. “This method allows me to create freely heating up the glass up to 1,400 degrees and melting it together in lieu of lead lines to hold the pieces together. Using this method allows me the freedom to be less rigid in my designs, giving a modern twist, and making my art more desirable.”

Being an artist, Tobey said, is not always profitable. She said that it may take years to become appreciated.

“Young artist need to get involved in their communities to promote the arts and network together to make it grow,” she said. “I have so many artists that I love as I believe in diversity. My favorite would have to be Mondrian because of his bright playful colors.”

Tobey also likes to use a lot of color in her pieces. Currently, she is working on a piece for an art show that will be held on Dec. 15.

“My husband is also a glass artist and we are doing a collaboration for this show,” she said. “I wanted to create something in fused glass that has never been done before. It will involve using long thin pieces of glass called stringers and noodles which are as thin as angel hair pasta and can be as thick as Linguini.”

The first step, Tobey said, was to research it on the internet to see what other artist are doing as inspiration to design something else.

“Next, I did studio research on different techniques to achieve a design that would work and stand out,” she said. “This one was inspired by my childhood days spending hours playing ‘Pick up Stix.’”

Tobey has been working on this piece for months.

“On the other side of the spectrum I needed to come up with a new line of glass work for the Museum of Arts & Science,” Tobey said. “Here I wanted something fun and whimsical that would make anyone smile. My inspiration would be the cute little sandpipers that play on the shorelines along the beaches. Hours of research of birds, bird designed already done and names was done.”

The end creation is a long-legged bird native to the shores of Ormond Beach to make you smile with wonderment. It is called “The Sandpeepers.”

“These funny birds landed in the Museum of Arts & Science gift shop last week with rave reviews,” Tobey said. “In a few weeks, Sandpeeper note cards will available for purchase. Protecting your artwork is very important so always copyright anything you feels needs it to protect it from being reproduced.”

Along with her relationship with the Creative Arts Center in Bonham, Tobey has a relationship with “Arts on Granada,” a coop art gallery in Ormond Beach, Florida. It houses 30 artists and has shows every week.

“I am also involved at the Daytona Museum of Arts & Science, a Memorial Museum, and Casements Camera Club,” Tobey said. “My work can be purchased at ‘Arts On Granada’ and in both gift shops at the museum of arts and science. No matter what area or part of the world you live in, networking is the key to getting to know other artists in the area and growing yourself as well.”

Art is important, Tobey said, as it is an expression of who you are as a person and helps build self-esteem.

“Art is history and has existed from the beginning of time,” she said. “Art is part of everyone’s DNA and needs to be expressed for everyone’s enjoyment. Community involvement is a wonderful way to get your artwork out in the public. Networking with other artists with respect is another way to grow the arts. Donating your time and work for a nonprofit is a way of giving back. As an artist, one must know it is not always easy. You must have a passion and a strong belief in what you do.”