Artist Wanda Tyner creates colorful, textural art with glass. Her work, from functional platters and bowls to conversation-piece wall hangings, always evokes Wanda’s love of nature, travel, and music. Follow her journey from art lover to artist.

By Sandy Selby

Wanda Tyner’s artistic journey began as a collector. She and her husband collected glass artwork for their home and that interest inspired her to take a class, simply to learn how the art she loved to own was created.

“I signed up for a beginning class thinking, ‘I will understand more and then move on.’ Instead, I fell in love with glass in a whole new way,” she recalls. “I took all the local classes I could find. I also traveled to take classes with glass artists that I admired.”

The next step was to purchase a kiln, figure out all the technical aspects of preparing, programming, and firing in the kiln.

Her work today is a complex merger of texture, shape, and color, but she started off with simple forms like platters. As her skills evolved, so did her art. Now she is a master at manipulating glass at high temperatures to transform it into her own unique designs. Those may take the form of wall art, sculptures, vases, interesting bowls, and more. “I continue to test and experiment and evolve my art, keeping it interesting and challenging to me and others,” Wanda says.

Wanda’s process begins with clear or solid colored glass made by a manufacturer. From there, the glass is transformed in many ways. “I manipulate the glass at high temperatures to create glass with interesting patterns, swirls, and design,” she says. “The glass is then cut and combined together to achieve the colors and designs I need. I fire this glass multiple times in the kiln at various temperatures to achieve smooth and textured results to make various artwork.”

The inspiration for Wanda’s designs comes from the things that interest her most: nature, travel, and music. “I love kayaking, hiking, exploring our world, and spending time in nature. Nature is the most amazing artist and such an inspiration. I also started taking piano lessons a few years ago. Music speaks to most of us in different ways and that inspired me to make music-related sculptures, including music notes, guitars, sax, flute, and piano.”

As Wanda’s art has progressed, so has her workspace. Now she has three kilns, each with its own purpose. “One is large and deep, one is a good size for most work, and one is very small for testing and also to make specialty glass. I also have several cold working tools to help with forming the glass including a ring saw, grinder, tile saw, and lap grinder. One work bench is set up with systems for cutting the glass and another work bench is used for laying out designs or staging work in progress. Of course, I also store a lot of sheet glass as well as molds and other materials needed for my work. Full disclosure: I do a lot of final assembly of the art and have some storage in our guest room.”

Although Wanda is enjoying success as an artist, she hasn’t forgotten the lessons she learned as a beginner. So, what advice would she share with a budding artist? “Share your work when you are excited about it, for the joy of sharing it. Don’t be your worst critic. It’s easy to focus on imperfections or compare to others. Don’t! Join a local art organization for networking and learning.

“Art is joy.”

See Wanda’s artwork at, or explore the selection at the Missouri Life Mercantile