About Us

Green Hills Arts is located in the Texas hill country just outside of Austin. Our studio is nestled among the mixed oak and cedar trees common to this area. Surrounded by native grasses and wildflowers, and sharing our yard with birds, deer, possums, raccoons, and the occasional armadillo or tortoise, we individually handcraft every item we sell.

Our inspiration comes from nature, from technology, and from our imaginations. We use a variety of materials in our work. All sorts of beads, gemstones, original fused glass from our own kiln, metals, and more all find their way into our designs. Perhaps some day we'll specialize, but for now we are having too much fun experimenting and learning new things.

We enjoy what we do and we hope you'll enjoy looking through our web site.

Our Products and Processes

We create a variety of beautiful yet affordable jewelry and decorative items: fused glass pendants and earrings, beaded jewelry, charms and bookmarks, and fused glass picture frames, plates, bowls, and other decorative items. All of our products are original designs and handcrafted in our small but comfortable studio.

Multiple steps are involved in each piece we create. For example, a typical pendant goes through the following sequence:

  • Glass is selected, cut, and assembled according to the design.
  • The piece is kiln-fired to fuse the various glasses together. This takes around 14 to 18 hours and reaches temperatures of up to 1500 °F.
  • Large pieces are cut to size, followed by shaping and smoothing with a glass grinder.
  • The piece is kiln-fired again to polish it in its final shape.
  • A bail is glued on using special two-part glass adhesive, and the pendant is finished with a chain or cord.

Of course, each piece is different. Some may be drilled using diamond-tipped bits in the drill press. Some may not need shaping with the grinder if the design calls for softer free-form edges. And some pieces are fired hotter for a rounder shape or multiple times to add design elements after the first fusing.

Green Hills Arts cab bar assembly
This large piece will be cut and shaped into several
smaller pieces for pendants, earrings, or bracelet parts

Our other products have slightly different sequences and different challenges. Picture frames are larger and require precision cutting and layout on the kiln shelf, as they are not typically shaped again after the first firing.

Plates and bowls also need special care in cutting, and they are fired an additional time to slump the flat fired piece into a ceramic mold that provides the shaping. This firing must be done very precisely — too little time in the kiln, or too low a temperature, and the bowl will not be shaped correctly. Too much time in the kiln, or too much heat, and you can wind up with an unattractive puddle of glass in the bottom of the mold.

The most difficult thing about working with fused glass is waiting for the kiln to finish. There is always a great deal of anticipation to see how the latest run comes out. Sometimes it's just what you expect, but very often there is a surprise inside the kiln. Some surprises are bad, some are good, but all are interesting and provide us with constant opportunities for learning new things. And that's one of the things we enjoy most about our work.

Green Hills Arts fused glass picture frames
Fused glass picture frames

Meet the Artists

Green Hills Arts was founded in 2007 by Kay and Kevin Rolfes.

Kay Rolfes, artist with Green Hills Arts

Kay loves to work with the many colors and patterns found in our art glass, creating designs and experimenting with combinations. She enjoys taking pieces through all the steps in their transformation from bits of sheet glass to works of art and beautiful jewelry.

Kay Rolfes in the Green Hills Arts studio

Kay has always been interested in arts and crafts. Her mother still saves a newspaper article of her "one woman show" from the 4th grade. She trained in college as an art major, until practical needs and a love of mathematics swayed her into the sciences. She's very happy to have come back to a hands-on creative occupation. Her experience and artistic talents are what make our products special.

Kevin Rolfes with the kiln in the Green Hills Arts studio

Kevin enjoys the creative side of glasswork, and is also the primary researcher for our process methods. With an engineering background, he loves finding the best tools for a task and adjusting the kiln program for optimal efficiency and results.

Wholesale Orders

Many of our items are available for wholesale purchase by distributors and resellers. Please contact us for information about cost, availability, and minimum order requirements.

Please note: Our products are not marketed to, or intended for use by, children.


Copyright © 2023 Green Hills Arts.