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.
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.
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.
Paper Depot occupies its store with a wide variety of papers and materials for crafts and scrapbooking. Peruse the cavernous shop's recycled, handmade, and exotic papers, which arrive in a variety of weight classes: hefty shocks of cardstock are best used to check ink levels in paint pens, and tissue paper is perfect for wrapping gifts while watching tearful episodes of Hee Haw. Take home a large brass seal and sealing-wax candle ($19.98) to seal fan mail to 17th-century diplomats, or take the do-it-yourself wedding invitation class, which helps soon-to-be-weds design their announcements every Saturday morning from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., as well as two Wednesday evenings per month from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. ($10.78). Over the course of the 90-minute session, Paper Depot's wedding invitation wizards navigate participants through the ins and outs of crafting the cards, covering basic assembly and printing methods for different varieties of papers. At the end of the session, participants will be able to take self-made samples home for future use as a bookmark for large-print encyclopedias.