- Arts and Design
Stained Glass - Hobby or Small Business
Transition Stained Glass Artist
Stained glass is a wonderful hobby and can be easily turned into a small business. Most people love stained glass in a window or door in their home, or they enjoy seeing glass in cathedrals or other art display centers.
In 2000, my doctors told me I couldn’t work any longer as the stress was causing the Lupus to flare up, plus I kept ending up in the hospital. For the first few months at home I did not do much, but I starting feeling somewhat better. I am not good at being a couch potato. I had taken a class and worked with stained glass as a hobby for many years ago, so I got out some of my old equipment, purchased some new equipment and some gorgeous pieces of stained glass.
I have always loved stained glass whether they are Tiffany windows in churches or in older homes and any type of newer designs. This remained a hobby for me for the next couple of years as I worked on my skills as I am a bit of a perfectionist. I had our 3rd bedroom setup with a large table and my husband bought me a large cabinet to store my supplies. Then, I just worked and kept improving my skills.
Group Along One Side of Display
Butterfly Sun Catchers
A Business is Born
Finally, I was approached by a friend and asked if I would like to be in their group of crafters and sell some of my stained glass. The sale would be in November in order to catch the Christmas shoppers. Each person in the group had different types of crafts. Some made jewelry, ceramics, one did machine embroidery and a whole host of other types of crafts.
Thus, for me, a small business was born. The show went very well and I sold several hundred dollars of my work. People loved my work and I received many compliments about the outstanding quality. Then, I went and got my business license and of course, my tax certificate, as I would be in violation if I didn’t collect sales tax. My husband actually welded together a display stand to hang the larger pieces and we painted it white and then used a lot of lights to show off the various colors in the glass. This was the perfect business for me as I still had health problems, but I could set down my work most any time and rest. I was productive some days more than others. My family would help me set up and tear down after the events, so it all worked well. My husband and I are a team.
Stained Glass Pieces using my Designs
Perfecting my Glass Making Skills
Stained glass is not cheap, nor is it a cheap hobby to begin. You need a lot of equipment, such as a grinder, a good glass cutter, protective gloves, solder, copper foil, fluxes, special tools and the uncut glass is expensive as well. You need a lot of practice to make those difficult glass cuts so things fit together smoothly. Practice, Practice, Practice is what I did.
If people like your work, they will buy your glass I started selling my glass in some independent shows which was also successful, and I did private orders as well. I’ve often repaired a piece of glass someone had for a long time but got cracked. I gradually became more creative, often drawing my own patterns and to be a good stained glass artist you have to be able to visualize how colors and textures look when placed together.
My Chilling Man
This piece of glass I kept has been a lot of fun. I made it early before I was in business and I call it the “Chilling Man”. I saw a guy, resting easy, smoking a pipe or blowing bubbles.
When my sons came to visit they cracked up laughing. “Mom, you made a glass picture of a guy smoking pot!” I know I can be naive, but that had not occurred to me. I don’t care though. I never put him up for sale as I still see a guy just chilling out hanging in one of my windows.
Abstract of Clear Glass
Feeling About My Work
I certainly did not get rich but it is nice extra income that helps defray medical expenses, and I like having my own income, It was hardly comparable to my nursing income even though I had only been working only 3 days a week by the time I quit. I was a part time hospital house Supervisor, so I made a good hourly wage.
The satisfaction that I receive from the reaction of people who come in and buy my glass is wonderful. I love the idea I creating something of beauty that is hanging in someone's house. I haven’t been able to do any work in the several months due to health problems, but I do envision the day I can begin again. The crafter group really wants me to rejoin and maybe that will be possible
Stained Glass Design Books
© 2010 Pamela Oglesby