We were so excited to see the write up in last month’s Accent West featuring local artist and From 6th Collective retailer Amy Thoennes Art. Read more about her process and what inspires her in Charee Godwin-Smith’s article below.
Sometimes a spark of inspiration ignites a fire when it is least expected. For Amy Thoennes, that spark quite literally lit her creativity on fire when she discovered an alcohol-based ink and glass, fueled with a little bit of fire, would create an incredibly unique form of art. Her one-of-a-kind pieces started with an experiment of ink on a small piece of glass where she touched a flame to the paint and began intuitively moving it around.
“I lit the ink on fire, and it set me on fire too,” she said. “My life was a mess in every way. We were building a new home, raising four young children, and I just needed a new creative outlet. It started as a therapy session, because it was something within my control when I felt I had none anywhere else.”
Being a lifelong creator, Amy has always looked for ways to expand her creativity. She’s tried almost every medium of art, and even ran an in-home floral design business for 20 years! Even though her passion for creativity was a life-long pursuit, she hadn’t planned to be an artist when she grew up. In fact, she wasn’t really sure what she would grow up doing.
“I really didn’t have any inspiration to do anything after I graduated from high school,” she said. “I didn’t want to go to college like all my friends. But I turned every job I had into something creative.”
Amy tells the story about working as a church secretary, where she admittedly did a terrible job as a secretary, but proved to be very creative when it came to planning special events at church. And in 2001, a friend was getting married. She asked Amy to do her wedding flowers, even though Amy had never worked with fresh flowers before, she was up for the task. She would often find herself helping her friends find their creativity too, setting up mini workshops for her circle of mom-friends to practice fun art projects together. “We were young mothers together, and I just remember she was always doing something creative,” said Erin Love, one of Amy’s friends. “She used to carry wool around and do felting, and she was always holding workshops for our mom groups to help us be creative.”
Erin also recalls Amy telling her that she thinks she was born in the wrong era. “She told me that she thinks she should be a pioneer, which made me laugh because she hates to camp,” she said, “But she said it was because she thinks it would be amazing to blaze a new trail. That’s the perfect picture of her heart. She’s not afraid of the unknown.” After years of running her floral design company, Amy decided that she wanted more. When she discovered that she could create beautiful works of art using glass she collected from various resale shops, she knew she’d found her true passion. She explains that every piece has a story behind it and is designed with some element that is touched by flame. Whether it’s a vibrant floral, a nativity scene, or a completely abstract burst of color, her beautifully fragile works of art touch those who purchase them.
“Amy is passionate about her artwork,” said Stephanie Nance, just one of the many collectors who buys her work. “She puts time, effort, and thought into each piece. Yet each piece is unpredictable with its true beauty and meaning being revealed through the fire.” In 2018, she had her first art show at Roosters Cafe in Amarillo. Since then, she has signed with Cerulean Gallery and places pieces in the Citadelle in Canadian. She also works directly with clients on commissioned pieces, further proving that every creation has a story.
Amy, like most artists, turns to creativity when life gets stressful. Working out her thoughts and feelings onto glass mixed with a little bit of fire helped work out and give balance to the things that were out of her control. This lead to an understanding that her creative process sparked something in her patrons: While a piece of art can mean something incredibly personal to her, her art takes on a new meaning from another’s perspective which is just as beautiful.
Additionally, Amy has started creating painted mugs and small planters for those who want something to use rather than a piece of art to enjoy hanging on a wall. She can be reached through her website here, through Cerulean Gallery, and you can shop her every day items at From 6th Collective.