La Mesa Fusion Glass Co artist Debbie Solan moves forward with new vision in Idea Field


Coming up this Saturday, July 1, the Faeries in the Garden event is hosted by the Arts for Learning San Diego an affiliate of Young Audiences National Network, the Water Conservation Garden and La Mesa’s Fusion Glass Co.

Coming up this Saturday, July 1, the Faeries in the Garden event is hosted by the Arts for Learning San Diego an affiliate of Young Audiences National Network, the Water Conservation Garden and La Mesa’s Fusion Glass Co.

Debbie Solan, owner of Idea Field/Fusion Glass Co, said she tried to put this event together last year, but was unable to keep up with all of the demands on her own. She said that is why she partnered with the Arts for Learning and the Water Conservation Garden in order to make this event happen. Arts for Learning has a large repertoire of artists that are teaching artists and the Water Conservation is well known for its educational and community resources and events.

“Part of the point of this event is to bring real art with real people, who work in the arts showing kids how it’s done by getting them to try it, displaying art they have done, learning that you can be an artist and have that be your job,” she said. “That is one of the things I really want the kids to understand.”

Solan said she was not encouraged as a child to pursue the arts, and to have a Plan B in place for financial stability. “I think that is a bad philosophy. I think our society and community need people who think creatively in every field. The arts release that in people. Having arts as part of the general education is teaching scientists oriented individuals to think in an innovative and creative manner,” she said.

Solan said going the normal route of this is the cell, this is how the cells work and this goes after that is not how artists think.

“We go, imagine if you took that, and put it next instead of that,” she said. “The whole point is to encourage creativity, encourage people to get involved on a community basis and to provide free classes at the Garden. We are hoping to raise enough funds whereby the community (San Diego County) can come and take free classes and it will be professional artists teaching the class.”

Solan said this can be anything from her teaching glass, or other artists that come in and teach pottery, dance and movement, authors, singers, musicians, fine artists, landscapers, everybody. “This is limitless in what we could provide for the community,” she said.

Faeries in the Garden will be held at the Water Conservation Garden on Cuyamaca College, Saturday, July 1, from 11:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost for the event is $5 per person with children under 3-years-old invited for free. Organized by Arts for Learning San Diego with event originators Debbie Solan and help from silk painting artist Marjorie Pezzoli it promises to be a breathtaking event in the beautiful garden setting. Everyone is encouraged to wear their faerie best costumes and a parade and contest is part of the day’s activities as well as a performance by Visionary Dance Theatre, and the Garden’s own Ms. Smarty-Plants will be on hand. The event will include art related activities for children and showcase artists that have their work for sale.

“It’s cheap, it’s affordable and the artists are encouraged to let the kids try it,” said Solan. “Pocket money projects. For 50 cents you can make your own mini water color, for $1 you can wrap wire around a stone into a ring. Hands on. Trying to get them to do things, think about things in a different way. Bring your own jar to make a lantern for $1, or buy one and make it for $2."

Solan encourages the community to participate in recycling things around the home by turning it into art. She said it also teaches children at a young age the importance of recycling.

Idea Field

A long time business partner of Solan, Paul Fernandes retired from Fusion Glass Co recently, but is still creating his art from home and selling it at local events. Since then, Solan is looking for other ways to use her talents in keeping up with today’s financial demands and the need for independent artists who have specialties to offer. In this transition, Solan is rebranding the company under the name of Idea Field, a place “Where Creativity Grows.” Although her love for glasswork art from her small pendants to the elaborate necklaces are the backbone of her business, Solan felt the need to expand to include more projects that would benefit both people in the community and her business at the same time.

Solan is expanding the classes she offers, utilizing her skills as a glass artist, fashion designer, and several projects that have evolved through her love of the environment.

“Our new direction is the same as the old direction, only more so,” she said. “We were very much glass oriented, now they can come in and make a glass necklace, faerie garden, do mosaics, painting project, and sea star sand castings. You can literally walk in the doors anytime during the day when we are open and start a project at a reasonable cost. We have projects starting at $5. Don’t know what to do with your kids during summer break? Bring them here and let them learn about their creativity. We want families to think about being creative with their children. It makes for great family memories.”

Solan is also offering studio membership geared for people that are creating, have created in the past or want to, and they do not have the space to work. “They also don’t have someone there saying, ‘Yes, you can do it,’” she said. “Many of the women that I teach on second Wednesdays tell me they are so inspired after leaving here that they go home and whatever their talent is. To me this is incredible, they are all a medium. My mission is to get more people to create and it would be a much happier world if more people would just lose themselves in creativity. It might seem really simple and really naive, but I truly believe this and I know from personal experience know that it works.”

Studio membership is for one month at a time. People can come in and work on one of their own projects. There is no annual fee for studio membership, and it can be purchased on a month needed basis. Solan said it does not matter what you want to make, she will help discover your creativity in what you want, help you in getting the supplies needed and teach the things you do not know how to do. “They just need to come in with their original idea and the thought, ‘I want to make that,’ and I will help them,” she said.

Solan is also working on creating relationships with artists that want to show and sell their work. For a small fee compared to most art consignments, Solan is opening up her shop for display for other artists in the community and will sell for them. “I want it to be affordable,” she said. “I want the percentage way reduced from other galleries. That lowers the costs and increases the sales. For a month of display, I think it is a fair deal for both of us.”

The Jelly Girls

Solan believes deeply in saving the oceans from plastic pollution. She created miniature and giant jellyfish all out of recycled plastic, with the help of artist and friend Pezzoli and they have been dubbed “the Jellygirls.” The jellies became an instant success, with  people coming to the shop to purchase their own jelly. This began as an artistic challenge at the 2011 Call for Artists & Scientists. These creations are on permanent display at NOAA’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center, at her gallery in La Mesa and have been features on runway backgrounds, the Living Coast Discovery Center and are still evolving as an environmental statement through art. Also hand painted, the collection of jellyfish is particularly captivating when lit up in the darkness and the colors reflect. They continue to grow in popularity, being purchased as pieces of art and many interested in learning the techniques to create them.

Invite Faeries

Fashion and costumes are nothing new to Solan and her creativity with fashion design and glass jewelry has been the highlight of many runways. Her love of the environment brought show stopping finales with her dresses made with recycled plastics, hand painted silk trains and an exotic combination of art, fabric and other combinations. Solan’s designs were featured at St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center Haute with Heart Fashion, and Leonard Simpson’s Ten-Best Dressed Awards Gala and many community events. Solan believes that as a business and a part of the community that it is important to participate in any way that she can.

Solan’s group of faerie ambassadors are a highlight of many community events bringing a fantasy world with her unique designs from dresses, wings, headdresses and all of the accessories that any faerie might need for any occasion. Invite Faeries is available for any event, from children’s birthday parties to large events. This has brought Solan into another enterprise in her reach for creative projects for people in the community. With her help, many in her faerie tribe have created their own dresses and she now holds classes for children and adults in bringing their ideas of fashion to a reality. Solan holds group classes where you can bring your gown and materials and helps in creating your own faerie or other mystical creature, and, as with her intricate glassworks, you can commission Solan to create it for you. She is open to all types of costumes, gown making and Cosplay costumes.

To find out more about Idea Field, aka Fusion Glass Co, visit It shows everything about classes, studio membership, calendar of events, Invite Faeries and custom work. Solan said to be sure to look on each page of the website and you will see a “Freebie by Mail!” For the cost of shipping, Solan is offering a free hand crafted glass pendant, hoping to get a piece of art in the hands of people across the country.

Faeries in the Garden

Saturday, July 1 from 11 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

The Water Conservation Garden

12122 Cuyamaca College Drive West, El Cajon