Salem glass artist Daryle Ryder. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Daryle Ryder’s two car garage is packed with handmade shelving containing jars and sheets of glass.

Inside her studio, Ryder picked up her latest creation – glass flowers she attached to metal stakes to turn into yard decorations. It was a class she recently taught her sister and an idea she’s hoping to offer to others interested in learning glass art.

Dressed in a “Dog is Good” t-shirt and Birkenstocks, she explained how she came to the fused glass medium.  

A student at Oregon State University in the 1980s, Ryder remembers taking a stained-glass class while she was in school.

When she married and followed her husband to Wallowa, she started a stained glass studio at her home in between seasonal gigs helping put out wildfires.

At the time, she was saving money to buy a kiln. While getting a ride back to La Grande after working a wildfire for the Forest Service, she mentioned her plan to the man giving her a ride home. In a twist of fate, his mother, he said, was selling her kiln.

When Ryder finished her two week gig that summer, she paid the woman a visit and bought the kiln with most of what she had made — $1,200 .

“Which I still have 25 years later. And I’ve been doing it ever since,” she said.

Ryder said she chose the medium because she enjoys working with her hands. She likes the colors and the somewhat permanency of glass.

She’s been living in Salem for three years and has recently been selling her work at Mish Mash Crafters Market on 1510 12th St. S.E. On Saturday Aug. 15, the market has a parking lot event.

Ryder does custom work under the name River City Fused Glass, but is exploring the idea of opening up her studio to other glass artists and to offer classes. She’s one of many artists who have lost business as a result of cancelled art events and fairs this summer.

Ryder said she’s been able to use her art as an escape from the stress brought on by Covid.

“When things seem a bit overwhelming, I just come out here and zone out all that junk,” she said. 

Salem artist Daryle Ryder works in her garage-based glass studio. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter) Salem artist Daryle Ryder opens the kiln in her garage studio. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

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