Stained Glass

Have I ever told you guys I work with stained glass?  After four years, it’s getting a little difficult to remember what I’ve brought up and what I haven’t.  I can’t even remember what I ate for breakfast, so there’s not much hope of that changing.  Anyway, let me tell you about my glass work.

It all started many years ago when I was a loan officer for a credit union.  I had a long drive to work, and on the way was a stained glass shop.  I would always admire the projects hanging in the windows and I thought to myself that one day I’d take a class and learn how it was done.  That went on for a few years, then I quit my job to stay home with the kidlets.  I never lost my interest in glass, but honestly the idea of having sharp glass around the little ones was a little too terrifying.

Ten years ago, I happened to skim through our local community college’s list of non-credit classes, and there it was – Stained Glass for Beginners.  I showed up for the first class to find only eight students, including myself.  By the second session we were down to six.  One of the girls said she was only there because her grandmother had bequeathed some glass tools to her, and her friend came along because her boyfriend worked for a window company.  I was the the lone student on the last day.  Ours was the second-to-last time the class was ever offered, so I’m glad I took the opportunity when I did.

Our instructor was a guy who looked like he belonged on a beach somewhere.   He started class by telling us a story of dropping a piece of glass and splitting his foot between his toes, as a warning to wear sturdy shoes.  He stood in front of us in flip-flops.  However, he was an excellent teacher.  In contrast to my fear that my kids would get within 100 yards of anything sharp, he was teaching his 7-year-old twin boys how to cut and solder.

My first project was this sun, which is still hanging in my dining room.  I love that beautiful, swirly glass…

Stained Glass - Crafty Staci 1

The next thing I tackled in class was this coffee cup.

Stained Glass - Crafty Staci 2

Starting a third project was a little ambitious, but I was hooked and I didn’t have any of the big tools of my own yet, so doing it at home wasn’t an option.  I finished this candleholder just as my instructor was packing up his stuff.

Stained Glass - Crafty Staci 3

By the time Christmas came that year, my sweet husband had made sure I had the tools I needed to work with glass at home.  I made this hummingbird for my daughter.

Stained Glass - Crafty Staci 4

And Spiderman for my son.  This was a tough one because of all those skinny fingers.  Of course, later the kids both decided they had outgrown these and gave them back to me, but Spidey hangs above my craft room door.  All that work was NOT getting stored away in a box somewhere.

Stained Glass - Crafty Staci 5

I made this fairy for my grandma.  I was so happy with the way she turned out.

Stained Glass - Crafty Staci 6

I made a few more things from patterns I had found in books or online, like this brown bear who is an all-time favorite of mine.

Stained Glass - Crafty Staci 7

But then I got brave and started creating my own designs.  I started with fairly simple projects, like this mountain.

Stained Glass - Crafty Staci 8

I really love making things that are three-dimensional, so these flowers sit on top of the fan, as does the tree on the mountain above.

Stained Glass - Crafty Staci 9

Another design feature I really like to use is curled wire, like this pumpkin’s tendrils, so I use that one quite often.

Stained Glass - Crafty Staci 10

I started to get brave, and made my daughter this flip-flop Zen garden.  She’s held onto this one so far.

Stained Glass - Crafty Staci 11

You wouldn’t know it by looking at it, but the light shade over my dining room table is probably the most difficult glass project I’ve ever made.  It looks simple, but the beautiful red glass that had me under its spell wanted to break everywhere except where I meant for it to.  These were supposed to be solid panels, but if you look closely you can see that I had to add some seams to fit some pieces back together.  Fortunately, it’s much more interesting this way.

Stained Glass - Crafty Staci 12

In addition to everything here, I’ve made lots of gifts, jewelry and Christmas ornaments.  My most recent project was this candle holder for an Etsy teammate in a gift exchange I participated in…

Stained Glass - Crafty Staci 13

…two years ago.  That’s right.  All my glass supplies have been sitting collecting dust for over two years.  Glass is like fabric - it’s pretty, so I would buy it without a thought to what I might do with it.  I have a large box of glass and everything I need to make something.  Or several somethings. 

Now for the big question:  Have I cut myself?  Oh, yes.  More times than I can count, although never so badly I’ve needed stitches.  I’ve also burned myself and probably added a little extra lead to my system.  But I keep coming back.  I think it’s time to break out the glass again.