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.
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.
At CL!X Portrait Studios, photographers can capture well-posed shots of siblings in matching sweaters or click away at kids in their natural state of play, whether they are giggling in a frilly tutu or banging on a set of pots and pans. The studio’s array of portraiture styles reflects its founders’ goals: Sandy and Michael Pawlyszyn started CL!X after searching fruitlessly for a user-friendly way to document their own kids’ childhoods. Now, their team of photographers snaps youthful smiles in the studio as well as on site in the community, helming shoots at local schools, dance studios, and sports games. Their subjects need not be children, though—they can craft portraits of entire families, moms-to-be, and high-school seniors before they graduate and cycle back to preschool. The crew also takes photographic fun on the road via photo-booth rentals, which let partiers create their own lasting memories at special events.
For Andy and Rachel Lee of Art and Frame World, their framing projects don't end at two-dimensional objects. Photos surround a folded American flag to depict a beloved family member in his military years. A commemorative Minnesota Twins jersey hangs with sleeves folded to show off its decorative patches. A Stratocaster guitar, signed by Jon Bon Jovi and his band, floats on mounts next to a gold record and a ruby-encrusted 8-track tape. This attention to detail is also apparent in the business's traditional frame jobs, which ensconce photographs in intricate patterns. Conservation items such as acid-free matting and UV-protective glass ensure that prized artwork is kept safe from the elements.