“Working with glass fascinates and challenges me. It’s like painting a canvas that I bring into three-dimensional form.” – Elijah Kell
Elijah Kell is an artist of the most passionate variety. His works are a thing of beauty, born from a personal experience prompting him to search for his authentic self. The results are nothing short of breathtaking!
Free-formed with cut and crushed shards of glass, arranged and layered to create their organic shapes, Elijah’s designs blend overlapping colors and thin threads of curled glass.
“This technique requires a delicate balance of space and weight in the layers in order to successfully withstand the firing process,” explains Elijah, who is from Mint Hill, NC. “Both my nature-inspired works and bold abstracts are expressions of my love for color and design.”
Elijah’s glass works are currently available at two primary locations: Kell Glass Gallery is located inside The Galleries at 811 in the Myers Park area near uptown Charlotte, and he is also represented by Juelerye Artisan Gallery in downtown Mooresville. Elijah’s goal is to one day open his own gallery in the greater Charlotte area.
Diagnosed with dyslexia at eight years old, Elijah has always embraced visual learning. As a child, he preferred building and creating to reading and writing, and clearly remembers art class (and very supportive art teachers!) basically kept him sane in elementary and middle school. Art was a welcome distraction from bullying that often follows kids with learning differences. “Art class was the one place I could go and feel like myself,” he adds.
“I always wanted to explore and understand using my hands to figure things out,” says Elijah. “Looking back, it’s not surprising I immediately felt connected to working with glass. Visualizing a finished art work in my mind and then creating it by cutting, shaping, and layering pieces of glass into a 3D piece, was and still is, such an incredible experience!
Elijah says he and his brothers were raised with awareness of the bigger world around them and giving back has always been part of his life.
“It feels great to use your gifts and the blessings you’re given to help others,” he adds. “Since I started my art and created my business, it’s been important to support charities.”
Elijah has also been involved with the Jimmie Johnson Foundation. “I’m a huge NASCAR fan, and love that this foundation specifically supports and funds school programming, including art,” he says.”It’s been an honor to speak at their events, and create glass vessels for their annual fundraising.”
One of Elijah’s favorites pieces to date is a small vessel he created at age 11. “I was experimenting with pieces that resemble sea coral, for a nature-inspired collection. It was a hard technique to figure out, and I failed many times. But I was determined. I loved the result so much I couldn’t part with it — I took the piece to art shows but wouldn’t sell it. It stays in my studio as a reminder of my journey so far!”
A more recent favorite piece is a special commission request from a client of Juelerye Artisan Gallery in Mooresville.
“This was a very meaningful project because it was meant to represent memories of times spent in the recipient’s grandmother’s garden. I knew how personal this was for her, and wanted to capture those memories in the flowers,” Elijah explains. “I had never designed bearded irises, and creating the depth, dimension, and drooping curves seemed impossible. But I love a good challenge and this particular design motivated me to experiment in new directions and push my creative boundaries.”
A recent testimonial compared Elijah’s work to similar pieces seen in Italy. “I won’t ever forget that because it was such an unexpected compliment. I’m just learning my way and getting better at what I love doing.”
Since he’s never formally studied art, Elijah doesn’t claim any specific influences, but has picked up things from iconic artists along the way. When it comes to creating, he goes with what he’s feeling or thinking in the moment.
Juggling school and growing his own business, Elijah is thankful for parents who have taught him the business side of his art, and lend their support when needed! While he does hope to pursue a degree in art history, he plans to take a year away from academics after high school graduation in May, to focus on his business and growth as an artist. Elijah is also a member of several local arts organizations, including Mooresville Arts, and participates in exhibitions and special events.
See the beauty Elijah creates, read more on his story, or contact him to create a commission piece, at Elijahkellartglass.com. You can find his art at Jeuelrye in downtown Mooresville, next door to Epic Chop House at 112 S. Main Street.