Cathy Lybarger started "doing art" very early - back in the '70's, as a child. Her work at that time probably consisted of coloring animals and carving into soft stone with sharpened bits of hard flint.
An early foray into the competitive world of gingerbread house construction yielded monetary award but also painful life lessons, both of which supplemented her formal art studies at Edgewood College in Madison.
After graduation in 1989 a break from the rigors of academia was in order, and a position as a checker at Food Country was just the ticket. Piloting that register through a ceaseless river of American groceries gave her an understanding of repetitive work, a Mark Twain-like perspective on the human condition (vis-a-vis retail commerce,) and spending money enough to buy colorful pastels and booze - requisite material for membership in the nascent Lost School of Madison.
Later she picked up a part-time job at the Vinery, a local stained glass store. Soon she was doing commissioned work for restaurants and churches. She also sold small stained glass boxes and hand-made jewelry at an open air vending area near the local university. Tricks of the trade she learned from her wily fellow vendors still serve her well at the select art fairs and festivals she attends today.
When a bead store moved out of its funky eastside digs in 1995, she jumped at the chance to have a bonafide retail presence. Aardvark Art Glass was born, named after a business her parents had operated briefly in the 70's. (She also liked its alphabetic primacy.) She bought the building in 1997 and settled in the back with her hedgehogs, lizards and husband.
Today Aardvark Art Glass is a busy trading center for discerning gift-buyers who are looking for "real art" alternatives to mass-produced Hallmark crap.