About Vangie Pullins
Glass History ~
I cut my first piece of stained glass in July 1994. It was like stepping from a dim room into the light. All of the pieces fit, truly, and every pun intended. I was determined to learn everything I could and began designing small things like sun catchers and jewelry. Thoroughly encouraged by many, I established Aurora Colors in July 1996, offering custom designed stained glass windows for homes and businesses. My designs were built in my half of the garage (I loved my little studio.) My lifelong experiences had prepared me for applying long known rules to stained glass techniques. My husband, Lyndon Pullins, joined me in 2002 and by February 2004 we opened our retail store and public studio in Petaluma. In August 2005 I finally "retired" from my city job, taking the leap to practice my art and manage this business full time with Lyndon.
Designing has always been something I love to do, long before I became an art glass designer. Most glass art we have made are in someone's home or business but when visiting our store you can see our gift items and a handful of windows. When left to my own taste, my designs are inspired by art nouveau, mystical and spiritual art. Symbolism is prominent in many of my designs, as are jewels and crystals. I have created many nature scenes, traditional, Victorian, abstract or art deco designs. Whatever a client may request, I research thoroughly and try to do their vision better than they imagined.
I'm sure I will spend the rest of my life learning about glass. My favorite procedure in creating stained glass art is designing and selecting the glass - they are one, to me, like applying paint to a canvas. Second, I love to solder, and again I was fortunate to learn to solder as all should be taught (in my opinion.) This came from an elderly gentleman who regularly visited PZAZ (was in Petaluma), known to all as "Uncle Ed." He was a stained glass master, taught me how to make my first lamp and box as well -- for free, just sharing his skills with anyone eager to learn. In the late 90’s I had the opportunity to study glass art techniques with Dan Fenton. There are others who were or are equally or more skilled in designing. However, I have yet to meet anyone that could match his knowledge of hot or cold glass or his sense of humor. Dan was world-renowned in the glass world and was truly a "walking glass encyclopedia" and a master of many of the glass arts. He and his partner, Patti, embraced me, inviting me into their world to just hang out or attend their classes while others were paying up to $600 for what he gave me freely. I have been fortunate to study stained glass techniques from some of the very best in their field and have read many books on the history of, and instruction and designing with stained glass.
Lyndon and I are accomplished in various stained glass techniques and build most leaded or foiled panels together. I do all designing for commissions, whether they are etched, foiled or leaded stained glass, and always only original designs. Whether I'm making fused art or stained glass works in 2D or 3D, the most important part of my stained glass design and most pleasurable is selecting just the right "paints" or glasses and planning needed materials. Next is my positioning the pattern pieces on those glasses to finally achieve our goal, your vision, and mine. Alternately, Lyndon's own designs are usually fused and kiln formed or suncatchers and 3D. I like to believe that our designs in stained glass in any technique may become heirlooms or treasured by the owner. My passion for creating stained glass art is what initially inspired me to offer you Aurora Colors, the dawn's colors in glass.
A friend and client many years ago, Tami Lewis Benson and co-owner of Rivertown Feed & Pet Country Store in Petaluma, said to me, "I'm very interested to see how your right brain and left brain will come together, what you will do with both together." That was in late 2000. Aurora Colors is "what I have done" with my Lyndon, as well as Bamblu, but that’s another story altogether.
~ Vangie Becerra Pullins
Glass artist and designer, instructor, retail store owner, entrepreneur. Founded Aurora Colors in July 1996, Aurora Colors Gallery in October 2006 and Bamblu LLC in August 2011.
My given name is Vangeleen Becerra, no middle name. Mom’s parents were both born in the U.S. to first-generation immigrants, one German and one from the Black Hills in Ireland. Daddy's parents were Nacogdoches Indian (Caddo Nation), Spanish and Mexican immigrants. I am a California girl, born in Sacramento, and lived my teenage and young adult years in the Bay Area. However, from infancy to 10 years old I lived in Lakewood, Colorado and like my parents, three sisters and brother were all born in Denver and I later returned there, my ties to the Rockies are nearly as strong as my ties to the Pacific.
Arriving to this place in time has been quite a journey!
When I was six years old I made my first embroidery stitch. I believe this was the beginning of my interest in designing or creating but I certainly did not realize this. I was the ’oldest’ and art was for others or my younger siblings as I had many things I wanted to know and do! Reading is a true love of mine and I was often called a bookworm. I filled my shelves with books and notes and patterns. At fourteen I worked part-time at my high school library repairing books and also began working for a seamstress in my "spare" time sewing pleats in custom and lined drapes she made for Montgomery Wards customers. By sixteen I was typing legal documents, assisting a pro bono attorney's secretary and earning school credits along with my pay. Realizing college was not even a thought in my world, my very strict typing and steno teacher appreciated my abilities and secured a job for me as the loan department secretary for Bank of America in old downtown Richmond. It was 1973. I started the Monday after I graduated and married three months later. With this job I acquired my set of "golden cuffs." If that is unfamiliar to you, I mean that I observed throughout my thirty-some years' career as a secretary: I often had a better income and benefits than others who had worked hard for their college degree to be a teacher or business manager. However, I was never satisfied with just working for others and had little outlet for my desire to make beautiful things. I made most of my clothes throughout my teens and that was about it for creativity then.
As an adult, I played with color in my designs in various crafts but I never once thought to make time for art classes until my daughter was about to graduate. However, I did take one class on Interior Design at the San Pablo Junior College, intending to become an interior designer. That ended when becoming a mother was my only priority. I believe my parents, Benjie and Joyce, had a big role in my creative side and innately taught me to see our natural kinship with the earth and nature - and about color in particular. When Daddy was asked for his favorite color, he always said "green, because the mountains and the prairies and the trees are grass green in the spring." He was a cowboy and son of a Colorado farmer. I have another vivid memory of him about to bite into a plump tomato from our garden and saying "just look at this red! have you ever seen such a beautiful red?" Our mother (85 years now) has always made home gay and colorful, always adding vases of flowers from the yard, along with her fashionable and large bouquet of plastic stem roses! In the early 60's I remember her painting our kitchen a pretty pink to go with with copper kitchen items and new appliances, creating a look and style I didn’t see in anyone else’s home. Though sometimes I didn’t love her color choices, originality was her silent message again and again. Mom was my first teacher, has taught so many, and is still sharing with others how to make "something pretty." But my greatest teacher has been my daughter, my Camille. Since a small child, her natural and uninhibited artistic talents have strongly influenced the evolution of my own art, as only an innocent and objective artistic eye could do. When Camille was just a little girl she even made for me my first color wheel.
My marriage for six years had ended in 1979. We moved to Petaluma on Christmas Eve 1984. I was a single mother of a nearly eight year old daughter and began commuting by bus to work in the TransAmerica Pyramid building in San Francisco. I worked for a small partnership with world famous clients, so desirable that when my boss shopped for a firm to take clients and employees as a package, we were welcomed into a prominent international litigation and corporate law firm: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Those years on the 37th floor of Four Embarcadero, 1986 through 2005, taught me many skills that have had a huge role in the development of me and of Aurora Colors. I also married a second time during those years and was suddenly widowed in 2001 after sixteen years. While this had a huge influence on my life’s direction, it caused me to think more seriously about a career as a glass artist. I was forty-six. Then, and to my great surprise, a beautiful man named Lyndon Pullins entered my life and you know the rest of the story if you’ve viewed other pages on this site.
Teaching Experience ~
2004 - Present Beginning, advanced stained glass in traditional lead or Tiffany copper foil, 2D and 3D.
2004 - Present Childrens' workshops, ages 5 +; mosaics, fusing, copperfoil stained glass at Aurora Colors and Mayacama Resort, Santa Rosa, CA.
2004 - 2013 Beginning and advance stained glass fusing and kiln-forming.
2005 - 2012 Beginning mosaics, direct and indirect methods.
Aurora Colors students have been direct registrants and registrants through Santa Rosa Junior College, classes held at Aurora Colors.
Sonoma Academy students have been taught at Aurora Colors and on site, for two week sessions.
Make-n-take projects sponsored by Aurora Colors at fairs, held at Petaluma Fairgrounds and Santa Rosa Fairgrounds.
Art Education ~
1994 Traditional Stained Glass Intro, Libby Kirk, Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa, CA
1994 Design & Construction, Sherri Pierce, Pzaz Studio, Petaluma, CA
1995 3-Dimensional Stained Glass, Sherri Pierce, Pzaz Studio, Petaluma, CA
1996 Painting & Staining on Glass, Dan Fenton, Fenton Glass Studio, Oakland, CA
1996 Air brush Painting on Glass, Dan Fenton, Fenton Glass Studio, Oakland, CA
1997 Pate de Verre & Kiln Casting, Dan Fenton, Fenton Glass Studio, Oakland, CA
1999 Introduction to Glass Fusing, Dan Fenton, Fenton Glass Studio, Oakland, CA
2000-2001 Metal Art I, San Francisco State, San Francisco, CA
2003 Making Glass Mosaic Portraits, David Ward, Ph.D., Ward Glass Mosaic, Chicago, IL (class in Las Vegas, NV)
2003 Hot & Wired Wire Wrapping, Linda Abbott, Linda Abbott Studios, Ogden, UT (class in Las Vegas, NV)
2003 Art Clay Silver Jewelry Making, Jackie Truty, Pretty Wild Designs, Oak Lawn, IL (class in Las Vegas, NV)
2003 Patisserie de Verre (kiln forming), Charissa Brock, Bullseye Glass Co., Portland, OR (class in Las Vegas, NV)
2004 Beginning Bead Making, Michelle Mitcavish, Aurora Colors, Petaluma, CA
2005 Mastering Mosaics - Liquifusion, Robin Evans, Glowing Panels Studio, Sedona, AZ (class in Las Vegas, NV)
2005 Glass Carving Revealed, Norm & Ruth Dobbins, Professional Glass Consultants, Santa Fe, NM (class in Las Vegas, NV)
2005 Gold Leafing on Etched & Carved Glass, Norm & Ruth Dobbins (class in Las Vegas, NV)
Accomplishments & Associations ~
2004-2008 Sesquicentennial Committee Chair, "Petaluma’s Sesquicentennial (150th) Celebration in 2008"
2005 Secretary, Petaluma Arts Association
2006 Oct Curator, Creator & Host, "First Annual Artists of Petaluma Exhibit and People's Choice Awards", Aurora Colors Gallery, 145 Kentucky Street, Petaluma, CA
2006, 2007 Art Jury Committee Chair for artist booth submissions, "Petaluma Art & Garden Festival", Petaluma, CA
2006-2007 President, Petaluma Arts Association
2006, 2008 Advisor for Cultural Arts, Petaluma Visitor's Program Advisory Board
2007-2009 Created and Hosted "Annual Young Artists of Petaluma Exhibit", Aurora Colors Gallery, 145 Kentucky Street, Petaluma, CA
2007-2008 Created, Hosted and Chaired Petaluma's "Sesquicentennial Youth Art Contest and Exhibit", co-sponsored by Petaluma Arts Association and Aurora Colors
2007, 2009 Advisor for Arts & Antiques, Petaluma Visitor's Program Advisory Board
2008 Authored chapter entitled "Petaluma's Trains and Depot" in Celebrating Petaluma 150 Years, published 2007 & 2008
2008 July 4 "Petaluma Sesquifest": sponsored and hosted free make-n-take projects, "Kids Art Activities", Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, Petaluma, CA
2009 Sponsored and hosted free make-n-take projects, Sonoma County Fair, Santa Rosa Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa, CA
"Through the Garden Gate" Garden Tour, May 28, 2005. John & Trudenka Brayton residence, benefit for Petaluma Historical Museum, Petaluma, CA.
"35th Annual Marin Designers Showcase", September 18–October 7, 2007. Featured exhibits in game room and on patio deck of a 1906 home in the Dominican area of San Rafael, CA.
"The Four Elements" mosaic table and chairs, Solo Exhibit, 2010. Gallery One, 209 Western Avenue, Petaluma, CA.
"Members Show, SCA", December 12, 2013 - January 3, 2014. Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 282 S. High Street, Sebastopol, CA.
"Art at the Source", May 15 - June 9, 2014. Hosted by Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 282 S. High Street, Sebastopol, CA.
"Inside the Members Show", January 8 - February 8, 2015. Healdsburg Center for the Arts, 130 Plaza St., Healdsburg, CA.
Previous & Current Memberships ~
Healdsburg Art Center
Sebastopol Art Center
The Association of Stained Glass Lamp Artists
Stained Glass Association of America
Art Glass Association
American Crafts Council
Retailers of Art Glass & Supplies