Cosmic Spark Designs is a Tacoma-based company owned and operated by artist Penny Russell. Penny has been painting for over 15 years on ceramic, porcelain and glass. Her creations are eye catching, creative and unique. Penny’s designs are treasures to behold for both artistic admiration and practical use. Penny says, “I call it living art in motion – meaning you can actually use these pieces.”
Cosmic Spark Designs is a one-of-a-kind business that specializes in custom designs. Penny opened the business with the idea of sharing her work with others. She also saw the opportunity to participate in Pierce County festivals, events and at other venues to expose people to what she does.
The name, Cosmic Spark Designs, came to the artist from a spiritual moment while painting. Penny explains, “There were brilliant colors and during meditation it just came to me.” Her art is very spiritual in meaning and intent. She truly believes that honing her artistic talents and sharing her work with others makes up her true self, providing her with an essence of existentialism that is nurturing and integral to her nature. “Art is one of the things I love to do, and I can’t fathom my work or my life without artwork. I even dream about it.”
There are several pieces that Penny creates as staples in her collections. These pieces include hurricane shades, tea sets, blooming flower glasses and many more items that can be used in everyday life. The “Flower in Bloom” series glasses are perhaps the most unusual and exciting item in her collection. While the client is drinking a beverage, a flower seems to bloom before their eyes. Penny has also recently started painting on canvas. The canvas paintings are bright, colorful and have a very Van Gogh feel to them.
The glass, ceramics and porcelain items that Penny paints on are sourced from many places. At first she found glasses and other items here and there. From there, she graduated to finding unique pieces at estate sales and wholesale outlets. Penny says, “I really look for unique pieces to draw your eye in, and I design around that piece.” More recently she has begun working with a local ceramic businesses, and she is learning to paint on fresh pieces and fire them in a kiln. This personalization creates the opportunity for even more exceptional designs.
Penny wants customers to enjoy her art in a practical sense. “The biggest thing is not just the art, it’s the practical use of the items that are painted,” she says. “The purpose behind the pieces is that it’s art that you can use. You live life, you don’t hide life.” Penny wants customers to take the teapot or wineglass out to use instead of just displaying it in a china cabinet. Without such use, many subtle details of the art are missed. Penny explains how her “favorite moments are when I’m at a show or festival, and I show people the blooming flower inside the glass. It looks like you’re drinking out of a flower.”
Penny’s artwork is a part of her being and wants to share it with everyone. Cosmic Spark Designs is the artist’s way of sharing her work with the world and especially her community. She explains, “If you’re not in your heart space, you’re not in your happy space.” It is clear that she lives true to this sentiment and hopes others can do the same through her artwork.
Penny has always had a heart for her community. Since moving to Tacoma from Kent four years ago, she has dedicated her time to contributing in any way that she can. True to the nature of a Tacoman, she has become very involved in the artistic roots of the inventive city. Her most current event with the city is the Tacoma Studio Tour, part of the Tacoma Arts Month program. Later in 2017, she will participate in the Holiday Sip and Shop put on by Quota International of Tacoma. The event is being held on November 4, 2017 at the historic Freighthouse Square in Tacoma. On Nov. 24-26, 2017 she will be at the Smoky Mountain Christmas – Located at the Thurston County Fairgrounds.