Donellen Designs

fused and cast art glass

Art Glass


Jewelry & Accessories

Wearable Art

Artists' Statements


Partners in life for over four decades, Don and Ellen Ljung find their skills and style to be complementary in their work with glass. Ellen has always created wearable art and jewelry. Wanting to create the components of her jewelry, she recruited Don and they took a class in fusing dichroic glass. Their jewelry business grew, but their passion for the properties and potential of fused glass grew faster. They now have a studio in their home where Don, a former physics professor, runs the three kilns. They work collaboratively, and Ellen's expertise in color is matched by Don's experiments with new ways to design with the glass. Together they create jewelry, serving pieces, art panels, table tops, and wall art using the brilliant colors of glass and the wide range of light diffusion and reflection of dichroic glass.

Fusing glass allows Don and Ellen to explore the attributes of natural elements, combining color, shape, and texture in unusual ways. The tactile nature of fused glass, handmade felt, silk, and metal beads intrigues them, and their designs showcase the natural beauty of these materials and their interplay with each other. Although they use a wide range of colors, their work tends to feature the rich blues and greens they see in wilderness kayaking and the rich hues of fall foliage. Ellen continues to make jewelry and wearable art, combining silk, fused glass, and felt to create unique pieces for women who are one of a kind themselves. The primary focus of Donellen Designs, however, has grown into unique serving pieces, tabletops, and art panels that showcase their distinctive 'river of frit' and geometric designs. Always seeking new visions for materials and design, they employ inclusions of dichroic glass, metals, handmade frit, pattern bars, and glass swirls made over a torch, as well as sandblasting, to distinguish their pieces.

Don and Ellen have taken classes in sculpture [College of DuPage] and glass fusing [Fine Line and Ed Hoy], and a two-week casting workshop at Corning Glass in New York. Ellen has taken jewelry, wearable art, and lampwork bead making classes at the Fine Line and Bead and Button. Their international travel and frequent visits to art museums have shaped their design aesthetic.

Don and Ellen have shown their work at many fine art shows, including Gold Coast Art Show, Wells Street Art Festival, Stone Arch Festival of the Arts [Minneapolis], and the Geneva Arts Festival. Their work is available for purchase in art galleries and boutiques in New York, Wisconsin, New Mexico, and Illinois, including the Leigh Gallery in Chicago and the Illinois Artisans Program Shop.

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