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 I Hate my Kitchen, on the episode entitled 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.
Housed inside a Spanish Colonial–style former church, The Museum of Russian Art exudes an aura of hushed reverence—sunlight streams through Romanesque windows, and arches frame the museum’s collection of paintings and sculptures. The lofty setting is ideal for an art collection that spans eons, from unearthed Byzantine-era golden urns to paintings depicting a turbulent post-Stalin Soviet Union.
The Museum of Russian Art bills itself as the only museum on the continent dedicated to preserving Russian art. It continues to do so by collaborating with museums in Russia and the United States, recruiting artifacts, accumulating artwork, and reassembling hopelessly jumbled Matryoshka dolls for its ever-rotating collection. In tandem with the museum’s collection, curators strive to illuminate Russian culture by hosting lectures from scholars of Russian culture and leading free one-hour tours each weekend.
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.
Specializing in custom framing of fine art, mirrors, memorable keepsakes, and artistically positioned banana peels, Nielsen Framing adds an aesthetically pleasing pizzazz to valuables. Experienced craftsmen draw on a wide selection of finely wrought frames to lasso, break in, saddle, and preserve striking paintings and grandma-impressing graduation certificates. Prices vary according to materials and size, but customers can opt for offerings such as a 8”x10” plain black frame with glass and 2” matting ($147), or an 11”x14” olive-veneer black frame with glass and 2” matting ($327). Best of all, this deal makes for a thoughtful Mother’s Day present by ensuring handsome housing for noteworthy digital daguerrotypes or impressive report cards.
Since 1995, the dexterous framers at Hang It Inc. have been embellishing artwork and other displayables with more than 1,000 first-rate frame varieties culled from around the world. Enclose a photograph or a napkin from a particularly delicious barbecue dinner with a 16”x20" black wood frame ($64), equipped with glass and a mount. Drab dorm rooms are illuminated with a poster encased in a 24”x36" black metal frame ($69), and gold, silver, and ornate borders enable customized constructions. Other combinations may be seen here. Hang It’s unique plasma-TV-framing service adorns wall-hung television sets with a quality picture frame and liner, transforming T.J. Hooker reruns into art. After shopping, customers can peruse the studio's art gallery, Gallery 122, which features a variety of mediums from local artists.
Helmed by 25-year art industry veteran Greg Hennes, Hennes Art Company enriches artwork with expertise and fine framing materials. Protect photo-captured memories of special occasions with a selection from the 8”x10” mouldings ($89) and ready-made frames ($29+), or enshrine a 16”x20” poster or print with custom matting and framing services using Hennes’ in-stock mouldings ($139). Hennes Art Company also features an expansive gallery with hundreds of framed and unframed original works of art, with several idea options for decorating the dining room or bringing a little color to the car hood.