Lisa Oakley info

Beauty belies work behind woman's art


Few of the browsers inside Cedar Creek Gallery near Creedmoor have any idea how Lisa Oakley’s colorful glass bead necklaces and bracelets featured in the display cases came to be.

Initially just designs in her mind, they took shape during many painstaking steps of the creative process inside her six-year-old glass-blowing studio.

Story by Al Carson
Photos by Joe Weiss

Lisa Oakley labors in her own wonderland, busy cooking glass, not for a looking glass, but for a chalice tumbler or other vessel that sails in from the glassy seas of her imagination.

Oakley says she blows glass, does not say she really knows glass, but she is learning how to pose glass in forms so unique that each is as different and fascinating as a snowflake.

by Carol Wills

The first thing Lisa Oakley made when she fired up her glass furnace in September 1996 was a witch’s ball. She was following an ancient tradition among glassblowers of inviting friends and family to contribute bits of glass to an ornament – the uglier the ball turns out, the better, she says. It’s supposed to forever hang in the rafters of her studio to keep evil spirits at bay. And, she says, laughing, it’s still hanging there – and it seems to be working.

The first glassblowing studio in the Triangle features creative shapes, but Lisa Oakley says that doesn’t make her an artist.

By Scott Huler

Don’t call Lisa Oakley an artist.

She sure looks like an artist. Moving comfortably between the two furnaces in her glass-blowing studio – the first of its kind in the Triangle – she explains her actions to a rapt crowd of 10 or 15 people, answering questions over and over.

Lisa Oakley finds her ’truth’ in glass blowing

By Kathy Watts

Lisa Oakey’s face shines bright red. She’s sweaty and covered with glass dust after working 60 minutes nonstop on a single piece for her Galaxy bowl series.

“At the end of the day, I can lick my lips and I can taste the salt,” she says as she gently places the 16-inch diameter bowl, still burning hot, in its cooling oven. “I feel like I’ve been working.”

People who know North Carolina’s artistic heritage would not be surprised to find an Oakley getting dirty for the sake of art. But they might have expected Lisa Oakley’s medium to be clay, not glass – for her to take up the tradition that brought renown to her father, potter and painter Sid Oakley.

Oakley family hopes to fulfill the founder’s vision for Cedar Creek Gallery

By Kathy Watts

Pat Oakley gently lifts chunks of soap in shades of amethyst and malachite from a cardboard box filled with pink packing peanuts. Her graying black lab Jeremiah waits at her feet, cocking his head whenever he hears his name.

”They’ll be great for stocking stuffers,” she says as she sets them aside to be priced.

Granville County glass blower Lisa Oakley continues her family’s 40-year legacy — while forging one of her own.

By Kathryn Williford

Tucked away on more than 10 acres of old tobacco fields in Creedmoor, just 20 miles north of Raleigh, lies one of the state’s true hidden treasures. Here, at Cedar Creek Gallery, you can find the work of more than 250 accomplished artists from across North Carolina and the nation — artists like Tim Turner, Brad Tucker, Ben Owen III, and Lisa Oakley, daughter of renowned potters Sid and Pat Oakley who founded Cedar Creek Gallery 40 years ago.