2014 South Walton Artist of the Year Hosting Holiday Workshops

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SANTA ROSA BEACH- A Walton County artist is creating beautiful artwork from items many might just toss in the trash. Mary Hong uses glass from old shower doors, broken ornaments, even wine glasses, to create one-of-a-kind works of art. Now she's teaching others how to do the same.

"I am primarily a glass artist, I've been working with glass for over 13 years," said Hong. She describes it simply: "Paint on canvas with glass," but the effect is anything but simple. "I create the outline then use trinkets, vintage jewelry, anything I can find that is laying around, and of course glass. I fill it in in a traditional mosaic sense, then I glue it down and cover it with an apoxy resin," said Hong, explaining her artwork.

2014 South Walton Artist of the Year, Mary Hong transforms something broken into something beautiful. "I use a lot of broken vases, broken jars, people bring me glass, lots of wine bottles. I slice them up like sushi and it use that round disk in a lot of my art."

Many of her pieces showcase coastal elements: seahorses, starfish, seascapes. "The coastal areas and dunes and lakes, even the sky looks beautiful here. Nature's beauty has so much to do with it," said Hong.

Her tools are anything but traditional. "I get a sledgehammer out and I whack the glass till I get it to the appropriate size." The result is dazzling. "I like the icey blue-greys and aquamarine, the teals."

Her one-of-a-kind masterpieces are available in boutiques up and down Highway 30A. But she's also encouraging locals to give it a try themselves, by hosting workshops. "A lot of people are intrigued by my art because it is so different, they want to know how to do it. It's healing, I think people like to get into their art and forget everything else. I think that is a draw also."

Mary is hosting holiday-themed workshops on December 5th and 6th at 10am at the Bayou Arts Center in Santa Rosa Beach. Cost is $75 for Cultural Arts Alliance members and $85 for others. To sign up call 850-622-5970, you can also send an email to Lee@culturalartsalliance.com. Mary will soon be teaching online classes as well.