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.
Established: Before 1950
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: All qualities of carpeting; huge selection
Pro Tip: Featured on KARE 11 TV and in the _Star Tribune for excellent service and real cost savings._
Good for Kids: Yes
Within his private studio, Professional Picture Framing Association member Joe Weinbeck handcrafts elegant frames to protect oil paintings and prints. Equipped with conservation framing know-how and hundreds of frames from six different suppliers, Joe introduces artwork to new habitats that shelter the pieces from harmful UV rays and hostile eye contact. Archival-quality mats from Peterboro and Crescent give diplomas or photographs the space they need, and four grades of glass or acrylic glazing protect wandering fingers from sticky globs of paint. Joe can also showcase his talents with large-format framing for epic Led Zeppelin posters or blown-up versions of Robert Plant's braces-laden middle school photo.
Googly eyes. Gas masks. Mannequin arms. Blowguns. Ax-Man Surplus Stores dares crafters, DIY enthusiasts, and tinkerers of all stripes to dream bigger, better, and weirder with an enormous stock of new surplus items. Each shop's collection of oddities and odds-and-ends resides in open-air barrels and on easily browseable shelves. Bins entice shoppers to rummage through metal bits in search of the next piece to a welded sculpture, and other aisles hold several decades? worth of electronic wiring, fans, speakers, and fuses, perfect for building a robot that every generation can relate to. Frequent shoppers are rewarded with a new truckload of treasures every week, along with an ever-changing collection of signs that artistically warn of the hazards of shoplifting and suggest off-label uses for the merchandise.
The crackle of Fireside Hearth & Home's fireplaces have filled the soundscapes of households across the country for more than 60 years. Today, their well-stocked showrooms feature a variety of advanced gas, electric, and wood-burning models from top designers such as Quadra-Fire, Heat & Glo, and Heatilator. In addition to fireplaces and accessories, they offer a number of decorative surrounds and mantels built with stone, wood, or casted material to gussy up any new or existing hearth. At attractive display areas fashioned to look like natural household settings, attentive staffers stand by to answer any questions, offer installation guidelines, or share tips on repelling pesky Santas.