Charlynne Lafontaine became devoted to glass in 1990 when she began working at a stained glass studio in Ottawa. Her pursuit of glassblowing started at Sheridan College in1993 where she studied under Dan Crichton and Kevin Lockau. She was introduced to flameworking in 2003. Since 2007 Lafontaine works and teaches out of her studio creating sculpture with flameworked glass and more recently, cast glass.
Her work has been featured in various publications as well as on the news and has been exhibited in stores and galleries in Canada and the United States. Since 2012, in partnerships, Lafontaine completed two public art commissions and was herself shortlisted for another. Lafontaine has participated in numerous exhibits and her pieces are in private collections in Canada and the USA. Some wearable artworks have been modeled in glass fashion shows at the GAS (Glass Art Society) conferences held at the Corning Museum of Glass, in Corning New York and Murano, Italy. She received a travel grant from The Canada Council for the Arts to help fund her trip to Italy. In 2021 she received a Research and Creation grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. The City of Ottawa has purchased pieces from Lafontaine’s Hairbrush series (2019) and Compact series (2023) for their permanent collection. In 2015, Lafontaine spearheaded the establishment of Loretta Studios and Gallery; a glass focused artists’ collective and gallery in Ottawa. She continues to manage the facility while working at her studio practice.
"Although my work has an anthropological focus, each artwork has its own connection to biological forms, whether to the human realm or to the plant, fungi or micro-organism varieties. It is easy to draw metaphors from these biological entities as they associate to our culture or its effect on us. The interpolation of the organic forms with objects as they relate to fashion, the environment or social phenomena, speaks to both the atrophy and the development of our society. The use of biomorphic glass components allows for a distortion of reality, as well as the creation of pieces that are both visually stimulating and thought provoking.
I’ve struggled to breach the schism between the natural and human worlds for as long as I can remember. It seems that somehow these two worlds should be perceived as one world, a singular organic entity. While there is a longing for a connectedness to the natural world, the attitudes in our society and the way in which we conduct ourselves, seem to take us further from this goal. I believe that as individuals we can change our behaviour to address this dichotomy by examining the social values which generate a desire for more material goods and produce unnecessary waste. We are at a point in history where our survival as a species may lie in our ability to live in harmony with the natural world. By internalizing values which are in opposition to the current homocentric archetype, it seems to me that we should be able to tackle these problems. By altering our normative habits, change can happen more quickly than were we to wait for such actions to be legislated. Each of us is an environmental activist and the practices we choose will determine the health of our relationship with our ecology.
Concern for the environment informs my practice. Through sculpture and installations, I explore how our society could change and hope to induce constructive impacts on the environment. My goal is to engage the viewer in a dialogue evoking positive relationships between the ecological paradigm and the human condition."
See more of Charlynne's work on her website or social media page.