Letting the light shine in

First Posted: 8/8/2014

1. How did you get into doing stained glass?

A friend of mine called me 25 years ago and asked me to take a class with her. So, we both took the class together, and I enjoyed it so much I started working for the instructor.

2. What kinds of things do you make?

I do custom work. I work with some builders, cabinet makers and an interior decorator. I get a lot of referrals from Davis Glass. I don’t advertise at all. It’s all word of mouth. I also do repairs and restoration work. I teach classes — here in my studio and also at Johnny Appleseed Park. The types of work I do are things like kitchen cabinet doors, entry doors, transoms, some church windows, things like that.

3. What kind of equipment do you use?

I need a grinder. I need a glass cutter. I use breaker and runner pliers. I have a soldering iron. I buy my glass from Franklin Glass in Columbus, and I also get some from Delphi in Michigan.

4. What is the process?

The glass comes in sheets that are usually 24 inches by 48 inches. If I have a customer, I give them books to look through or have pictures to see what they want. I do drawings, and they choose the design they like the best. Once they pick out a design, they pick out the glass. Then I draw up a full-sized pattern. You need two copies of the pattern because one you cut out all the individual pieces. I number and color code those. The pattern pieces are laid on the glass and I trace around it. Then each piece is cut and ground. I wrap each piece in copper foil. Then you lay it all out on the whole pattern. Then you solder all the pieces together. You have to solder the copper seams on the front and the back. Then you wash and polish the piece. If a piece needs to be installed, I sometimes do that and sometimes someone else does – it depends on the job.

5. How long does it take?

It depends on how big it is and how many pieces. A lot of people wanted grapes a few years ago, and that took a lot of time because of all the tiny individual pieces.

6. What’s the most challenging part for you?

The most challenging might be making sure I get the window the right dimensions so it fits where it is supposed to. If it is off even by a little bit, that is not good. I also have to make sure the window gets to the customer in one piece.

7. What’s your favorite part?

Probably meeting the people. I meet some of the nicest people — both my customers and my students. I love seeing my customers’ reactions when they see the finished piece.

8. Do you have a favorite project you’ve done?

One of my favorites is a recent project. The customer brought me two very old windows, each 100 plus years old, and wanted me to create a new window using those two. I drew up some designs and she picked out the cross. Then we created the new window using the two old windows. One was from a church and was between 100 and 150 years old, and the other one was from their home. That was 100 years old. Both were in disrepair, so I took both of those apart and reused the glass to make a new window. This window is going to go into her studio. She works at the college, but she also does drapes so this will be in her studio.

9. How can people get a hold of you to get custom work?

They can call me at 419-659-2440.

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