Most students in introductory stained-glass-making classes are in search of a new hobby or a fun few hours, but not Connie Beckers. In 1995, she took such a course and soon built a career around the art of stained glass and kiln-working. Now, through The Goddess of Glass, she teaches others her craft during classes that cover the creation of jewelry, coasters, plates, and transparent overalls. She’s also been known to flex her instructional muscle as a guest artist on the DIY Network show Cramped Quarters, where she taught the show’s host and contractor how to make stained-glass tiles for a kitchen in the middle of remodeling.
The Goddess of Glass also sells artwork and gifts out of a separate retail shop. Patrons can commission a custom piece, such as a stained-glass window, or peruse a collection of pieces by more than 80 local artisans. The shop’s staff can also advise clients who need custom framing, helping them to pick the proper matting and frame so that their Richard Nixon rookie cards really pop.
Signature service: Creative Portraiture/Before and After
Staff Size: 1 person
Average Duration of Services: 1–2 hours
Pro Tip: Visit mcphotographyllc.com for details on what to do before the photo shoot.
Michael Weber and Nick Adams aim their lenses at everything from beaming couples to photogenic plates of pasta. The two harness more than 25 years of combined experience as they craft images—not the kind that sit sedately in frames, but rather the kind that leap out, grab your face, and launch into stories about dimpled babies, flying mortarboards, and couples vowing to stay together in sickness and in health. Their artistic, modern style yields images perfect for family albums but also polished enough for model portfolios. They share the techniques behind that deft approach during introductory and advanced photography classes, passing down their exuberance for the art form whose development spared museum-goers from more dreary years of staring at da Vinci’s finger paintings.
Seasoned artist Malcom Potek calls upon more than two decades of glass-manipulating experience while crafting intricate, multicolored tiles and custom sconces that suit the unique architecture of their intended edifices. Within his shop and gallery, a glossy collection of already made glass portraits, beads, and tiles entices eyes to ogle one-of-a-kind designs instead of Betty Boop–shaped clouds. Visitors inspired by Potek's work can learn the tricks of the trade during a variety of glass-blowing classes that set participants on the path to glass-blowing certification.
Owner and stained-glass enthusiast Judy assembles custom pieces for cabinets, doors, and windows, as well as hanging decorations including address signs, reproductions of drawings, and flower mosaics. In her introductory classes, students create easy-to-follow designs, such as a three-dimensional Moravian star. Judy teaches pupils the basics, from cutting and soldering glass to comforting elderly glass with stories of a promised afterlife as beach sand.
Dave Santos, the shutterbug behind H Larson Photography, evinces his 40 years of experience with attention to detail and a genial camera-side manner. Each one-hour session begins when families, children, and pets gather at home or Dave's studio for an indoor session, or in the Minnehaha Falls area for an outdoor photo shoot. Dave also welcomes individuals, such as high-school seniors, business executives, or rugged vigilantes, to pose for solitary depictions. During in-studio sessions, clients select their favorite backgrounds and sets—along with up to three costume changes—before Dave translates their memories into static images. Alternatively, Mother Nature welcomes pose strikers during outdoor sessions, where dense shrubs and floating censor bars facilitate up to two costume changes.