Twelve years after graduating from NC State with a degree in textile technology, Perla Segovia ’00 has pushed the limits of art and design, using her skills to weave far more than textiles. Segovia, an artist based in eastern North Carolina, experiments with woven and fused glass to create pieces inspired by everyday life, her travels and nature.
“I took a workshop in Missouri that taught me how to weave glass,” Segovia says. “I’d never seen woven glass before. It opened up a whole new world for me.”
After graduating from NC State, Segovia lived in Italy for three years while earning a degree in pattern making. She launched her career as an artist by designing jewelry, shoes and handbags, but soon after discovered her passion for working with glass. The material has been the centerpiece of Segovia’s collection ever since.
While Segovia grew up in Peru, only moving to the United States when she was 10 years old, she didn’t return to South America until after college.
“The landscape in Peru is all so different,” Segovia says. “I went to the Amazon, the Andes, the jungle and rainforest, and the mountains. That’s inspired me a lot with design and choice of colors and textures.”
Drawn to the colors and themes in nature, Segovia even seeks out inspiration in her backyard. “I love insects. Right now there are two spiders outside my window and I keep staring at them all day,” she says. “They have beautiful colors.”
Beyond its design, Segovia’s artwork also seeks to convey a deeper message. In one of her most recent pieces — and one she is particularly proud of — Segovia created a pair of rocking chairs from woven glass, which she says is more of a social reflection. “The smaller one is representative of a child and the larger one of a mother,” Segovia says. “It’s about how we’re predisposed to prejudice. It represents how fragile we are as children and how anything will influence [us].”
Segovia says she enjoys working primarily with glass, as well as the reason it conveys her inspiration so well, is because it’s an unpredictable material.
“My art is spontaneous, so I just start playing and experimenting,” she says. “When you fuse two colors together, there’s always chemical reactions that create new colors – that’s what I love about glass.” However, Segovia also draws from her textile background at NC State, interweaving glass and fabric in some of her pieces.
Yet the greatest joy Segovia gets out of her artwork comes not from its creation, but rather from the responses she receives. “When somebody says they’re curious about it and they want to ask questions about how I did my work, I love that,” Segovia says. “I love when someone says ‘Oh, I want to try that!’ That’s my happiest moment right there.”
The satisfaction that Segovia feels when her artwork has inspired someone else has translated into a teaching position at Cape Fear Community College, where she instructs a continuing education course in fusing glass.
“A lot of these people have nine-to-five jobs and their only outlet is to come home and watch TV, so this is a nice change,” she says. “The only thing you’ll care about is what you’ve got your hands on. It’s like therapy to get away from the world.”
— Jamie Gnazzo