The pieces at Zarit Glassworks, at the Sequim Farmers and Artisans Market, catch the light and cast a glimmer onto City Hall Plaza every Saturday. The work of Susan Zarit has had a presence at the market for almost four years.
Guests have come to know her shimmering displays of stained and fused glass functional and fine art pieces.
Zarit didn’t begin her journey as an artist looking to sell her pieces. Rather, Zarit viewed her glass work as an opportunity to support organizations doing work that aligned with her values.
“When I started in glass art, I just made pieces for local charity auctions,” Zarit says. “I would just outright donate my pieces.”
It was her husband, Steve, who suggested finding a sales outlet for her pieces to cover some of the expenses of the practice: “Glass can begin to get pricey,” Zarit says with a laugh.
A seasoned vendor had come across Zarit’s pieces and identified that she’d be a good fit for the market lineup. Zarit jumped right into the market community.
After starting her market business, it was important to Zarit to continue to contribute to community organizations. She opts now to donate a percentage of her profits to charities such as Clallam Mosaic and mental health advocacy organizations.
“If someone has a particular charity they’d like funds from their purchase to go towards, I’ll write it down and make sure it goes to that charity,” Zarit says.
Zarit began her foray into the glass world nearly fifteen years ago, initially working with stained glass.
“I love the medium, I love glass,” she says. “With the different techniques I’ve learned, I’m able to combine my passions into glass and that’s extremely fun.”
Zarit says she’s particularly drawn to creating glass interpretations of people’s personal photographs transformed into fine art pieces or even small glass dishes.
“I get a lot of people who want memorial, wedding, or baby pieces,” Zarit says. “It’s a good way to capture the essence of a photo. That’s what I love the most. I kind of get a glimpse into the person by the photos they bring.”
Zarit specifically points out her appreciation for the opportunity to connect with market guests on Saturdays.
“I love meeting people and seeing their reactions to the artwork. When someone connects to a piece, you can’t put a price on that … Well, I guess you can if they buy it!” Zarit says.
“It’s so neat to see guests’ interaction with my artwork,” she Zarit. “I like it, but I never know how it’s going to be perceived until I get to the market.”
Like many returning vendors, Zarit says she’s seen firsthand the transformative evolution of Sequim’s local market.
“It’s grown immensely,” she says. “I think it’s become more of a family, if that’s even possible. Everyone genuinely wants the best for everybody else at the market.”
Zarit sees the market as a venue that grants the entire community access to locally grown and crafted goods.
“It gives people access to things they don’t normally have access to,” Zarit says. “Farmers are usually so spread out geographically. Here, they’re in one central location on Saturdays. People can always go to get their local, fresh veggies and fruits in one spot without having to travel all over the peninsula.
“Our community booths provide insight about what’s actually going on in the community that people might not know about. It’s a good gathering place and I thoroughly enjoy vending at this market. The interactions with the people keep me going.”
Market guests can meet Zarit Glassworks at the Sequim Farmers and Artisans Market from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. each Saturday through October.
Visit your community market at Sequim City Hall Plaza at North Sequim Avenue and West Cedar Street, and at Centennial Place at the Sequim Avenue and Washington Street intersection.
For the 2021 Lavender Weekend, the market is open two days: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, July 16-17.
Want more market updates? Be sure to tune in every Friday at 4 p.m. to KSQM 91.5 FM for the live radio “Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market Hour.”
Emma Jane “EJ” Garcia is the Market Manager for the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market.