Surgeon fired up about glass art

A Wisconsin physician spends his free time making and selling his own pieces made of kiln-formed glass.

Name: Steve Immerman, MD.

Specialty: General surgery.

Location: Eau Claire, Wis.

Business: Steve Immerman Kiln-formed Glass ( The company sells kiln-formed glass art created by Dr. Immerman. Galleries also sell his works for $1,600 to $4,000 each.

Annual revenue: "I don't consider this a business," he said. "It's much more of a creative outlet and a stress reliever. ... Yes, I do sell things, but it's really more to just perpetuate my ability to do this."

Why he started the business: "I had been doing stained glass work since 1979," he said. "The whole idea of being able to manipulate glass in a kiln wasn't even available as an art form until the mid-'80s because you couldn't buy glass that you could mix and fuse colors together. ... I became acquainted with [kiln-formed glass] in the mid-'90s and started experimenting with it. It really took at least six or seven years before I had mastered it well enough to be actually making successful [art] projects."

Why he keeps practicing: "I enjoy being a surgeon and I enjoy creating glass art. If I became a full-time artist, it would turn creating art into a job, rather than a respite from the stress of being a surgeon."

Words of wisdom: "I think physicians are usually very talented people in one way and they may be talented in other ways that they have not tapped because our training is so science-oriented that we don't have time to explore what other artistic abilities we might have. ... I happened to luck on finding something that I not only enjoy, but it turned out that I was good at. But I did not know that was going to be the case at the start."

-- By Tyler Chin, AMNews staff. June 12, 2006.

Golden Fields

A sample of Dr. Immerman's work.

Copyright 2006 American Medical Association. All rights reserved.