Art of glass: Creator of eclipse artwork in Hotel Carmichael celebrates 20 years of niche craft


During a ski trip to Steamboat Springs, Colo., in 2003, Carmel resident Pam Niccum and her husband, Doug, visited an art gallery. A fused glass piece caught her eye and she fell in love with it. Debating how to get the large, fragile art onto an airplane, her husband suggested she make her own glass art.

Soon after, Niccum enrolled in a three-day fused-glass class at Delphi Glass in East Lansing, Mich. She immersed herself in books about fused glass, attended additional classes in Chicago and practiced making glass art.

“I’m largely self-taught, but I have taken great classes from wonderful teachers,” Niccum said.

Most recently, she created a custom piece to display at Hotel Carmichael in Carmel for the April 8 solar eclipse.

Niccum works on commission and has provided multiple pieces for The Olive Mill on Main Street in Carmel.

“I have a lot of functional pieces there, bowls and platters and things that really do dovetail well into the gourmet olive oils and vinegars,” Niccum said.

Jason Crouch, executive chef and food and beverage director at Carmel’s Hotel Carmichael, was introduced to Niccum while shopping at the Olive Mill in November 2023.

“I had always enjoyed looking at the glass display pieces that are at the Olive Mill in Carmel when I would go there to get items for Hotel Carmichael,” Crouch said. “On one of these trips, I got to meet Pam, who was there to stock the store. We talked about her artwork, and I got her card. I had wanted to have her make the hotel some custom display pieces.”

In February, the Hotel Carmichael team was discussing doing something special for the upcoming solar eclipse, and Crouch suggested they commission Niccum to craft glasswork.

She immediately began brainstorming.

Niccum’s father served during World War II. While out running one day, she started thinking about the music from that era, and remembered a song her parents used to play when she was growing up called “Moonlight Serenade.”

“This whole concept of Moonlight Serenade kept coming to my mind,” she said.

Ideas started flowing around how the piece could show appreciation for those who served in the armed forces and pay homage to that generation.

Carmel is the home to the Great American Songbook Foundation, and “Moonlight Serenade” is included in the Songbook. This connection gave Niccum further direction for the sculpture. Coincidentally, the Hotel Carmichael team also found the song fitting for their event.

“I went to the Hotel Carmichael to make a presentation. And completely unbeknownst to me, the theme of their event was Moonlight Serenade,” Niccum said.

“She had incorporated so much of the Great American Songbook, and it was a match made in heaven,” Crouch said.

The piece consists of two different sized discs of glass. One disc represents the sun, the other the moon.

“The sun has the starburst or the rays extending from it to the outside edge,” Niccum said. “It is made from bright yellows and oranges and white and clear glass. The moon has more of a silvery edge that looks like the corona of the eclipse itself. I selected a deep blue glass that has almost a metallic look to it” and fused it with a sliver splatter glass. The silver splatter look gives you the illusion of the surface of the moon.”

Her husband, who is a metal and woodworker, helped design a stand that would imply subtle movement when the discs are placed on it.

Niccum has no shortage of ideas for her creations.

“Everything inspires me,” she said. “It can be a thought. It can be Mother Nature. It can be a conversation I have with someone. It could be something I read. It could be a piece of something I hear on the radio. Everything inspires me. I never want for inspiration, ever.”

Before starting a new piece of work, Niccum spends time testing glass and various outcomes to find the right look.

“Fused glass is made just as you would fire ceramics,” said Niccum, explaining that selecting the right type of glass used in a piece is crucial. “Glass has what’s called a coefficient of expansion. All glass that you work with needs to be compatible. If it is not compatible, the glass may be unstable and break or shatter.”

Moonlight Serenade is on display in the lobby of Hotel Carmichael. The piece is available for sale, and if purchased over the asking price the additional money will be donated to the Great American Songbook Foundation.

Learn more about Niccum’s work at

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Pam Niccum created “Moonlight Serenade” as part of local celebrations for the April 8 total solar eclipse. (Photo by Doug Niccum)

‘I’ve never not done art’

Pam Niccum has a bachelor’s degree from Trine University and received an MBA from Butler University.

“I’ve had several careers, all in business, ranging from setting up a mutual fund broker dealer for an insurance company here in town to managing medical practices. I’ve been the operations manager for a small museum,” she said. “I’ve done many things, all of which gave me good background in doing art, but I have always done art. I’ve never not done art.”

Pam’s husband is also an artist, working with metal and wood rather than glass. Starting in 2004, they operate under the business name Innovative Art Works.

“This year I’m celebrating 20 years of breaking glass,” Niccum said.