Retiree has a Passion for Glass Art 

Her work is inspired by nature.

by Juliette Nasarenko

Pamela Klebaum found a new passion during her retirement years in Ventura. She found a love for glass art and created the art in the heart of her home. Her work is inspired by nature and her latest work deals with climate change and its effect on our earth. She is working on a new piece that references plastics in the ocean.

When Pamela was 55 years old, she was looking through old boxes and came across a diary that belonged to her dad. Her father was in the navy while on a voyage to Greenland and the diary described his journey, the icebergs, and life at sea. This was when she decided to start making art based on the diary. In order to take on this project Pamela attended Ventura College and took an art class each semester to learn life drawing and life painting. She wanted to learn the basic principles of art since she never had any formal instruction when she was young.

Pamela retired in 2010 and after she redid her kitchen she wanted to put glass figurines inside the cabinets. At the stain glass store, she found a new process and started studying all over the country taking workshops. She was invited to do residencies and fell in love with the process. In 2018, she was also invited to attend a professional artists’ residency on the northeastern shore of Scotland. It was only nine artists with two mentors, and she was able to feel at peace with nature as she fell “back in that time”.

According to Pamela, it takes 6 to 8 weeks to make glass art. It takes multiple firings and when it comes out of the kiln it is very rough and must be finished with a chemical polish to bring out the shine. After the Thomas Fire destroyed several homes in her neighborhood, she felt compelled to create Project Phoenix which is a small glass house for each neighbor who needed to rebuild their home. Each glass house was different as well as unique and she wrote in a note to each returning family, “…to hope that the glass house would bring beautiful light into your beautiful new home.” In August of 2023, she finished her final Project Phoenix house which was number 112! Out of all her beautiful art pieces her favorite is called Glaciers Disappearing which shows the ice melting. She says, “You can see through her work what we are doing to the earth.”

Pamela loves to keep herself busy and started playing soccer for the first 3 years of her retirement. She also continues to study the piano since starting retirement. She enjoys walking around her neighborhood and staying active. One piece of wisdom that Pamela always likes to think about is gratitude as it “becomes a way of our life.” She loves to think about smaller graces every day and people spreading kindness to each other. She loves to go to Yosemite every year for her and her husband Nohl’s anniversary. She loves to read and started reading the Pulitzer Award winner The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk. She said it was a very compelling story and similar to her dad’s diary illustrating life on a ship and how intimate it can be. My conversation with Pamela was compelling and fascinating as she has so much ambition and passion for what she does. I loved listening to her story and journey as she has a big heart to help others and make the world a better place.

Editor: If you are a senior (over 70-years), or know of one, who would like to share their retirement, or job, with us please let us know at [email protected].


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