Our Weekly Spotlight on the Arts is shining on “Crazy Ray” Fleming!

“Crazy Ray” is a local artist with many interests and talents! Most recently, etched glass has been his focus with his past portfolio including many different other disciplines such as wood and metalworking, electronics, 3-D modeling, 3-D printing, laser cutting, and even welding. He very much enjoys working on projects and “getting things done”, the sky is the limit as far as imagination and creativity go!

Many of Ray’s early designs have been based on life along the Chesapeake Bay, such as his very popular SOMD set of beverage glasses which includes etchings of a crab, Maryland flag, sailboat, and an oyster boat. 

He has since added new designs as customers have requested a variety of special orders and requests. In particular, the USMC bulldog and also the Navy pilot wings have been two sought after patterns requested frequently as retirement gifts.

Our featured artist is a proponent of the “makerspace movement”, particularly non-profit community spaces such as PaxSpace, located in Hollywood, MD. Ray joined PaxSpace in January of 2015 and has been working on a variety of projects since. He has learned several new skills and enjoyed the projects that he did in the early days as a member, although none of those proved to be commercially viable.

Just shy of four years later, Ray created a few etched glass Christmas gifts for friends and family members at PaxSpace. When he showed them to friends at work, people were amazed by the details and beauty of his etchings – the next thing he knew, orders for custom glasses were coming in!

The following year he took part in the 2019 Crab Pot Pitch Competition, although his etched glass business proposal didn’t win the competition he did have a number of sales that night, which inspired him to keep on creating.

By July of 2019, Ray was selling his etched glass at Local By Design in the Annapolis Mall which really launched his sales and, well, things got just a little bit of crazy when more and more custom orders started coming in!

In addition to his etched glass projects at PaxSpace, Ray Fleming also volunteers there as a board member and as the “Quartermaster”, the person responsible for facility maintenance, shop organization, and training.  Ray reports that “having a full shop with all the tools is a great space to work out of, but what really makes PaxSpace a phenomenal resource is all the other members and their knowledge.” 

This local makerspace is one of Mr. Fleming’s favorite places to be as anytime someone is stuck on a project or needs suggestions, the creative community is readily available to help with tips and tricks which they have used in problem-solving with their own work. 

Keep shining Crazy Ray, we are very much looking forward to seeing your future artwork and visiting PaxSpace to learn more about this amazing organization!

Photos provided by the artist, to see more of his work visit “Crazy Rays Little House of Big Ideas” on Facebook or email to contact the artist.

Other links of interest:

PaxSpace Inc. – a 501(c)(3) non-profit, member-operated Makerspace, where people can meet and work on their projects. (www.paxspace.org)

The Crab Pot Pitch Competition – is Southern Maryland’s premier pitch competition for entrepreneurs with cutting edge, disruptive and innovative technologies. (www.somdinnovates.com/events/crab-pot-2020)

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