Marian Stevens: From Website Developer to Glass Artist

Featured Artists

How did you get started in glass?

I have always admired stained glass but never thought I would have the patience for it. It seemed like the process was daunting. I am the 'webmistress' for my Fremont Harley Owners Group Chapter and a lady in the Chapter created a glass panel to honor another member's wife who had passed. I mentioned to her that I'd always thought about doing stained glass but figured it was too hard. She offered to come teach me and change my mind. Last April, she did just that. It is labor intensive - but as a website developer I've developed the patience for intricate things.

Why glass?

I'm a very visual person, have always been artistic, and love vivid colors. Ever since I was little, I remember my mom washing out empty noxema bottles (cobalt blue) so I could hold them up to the light. I loved going to church just to look at the gorgeous stained glass windows. My favorite moment is holding panels up to the light for the first time. It's always an oooo ahhhh moment for me.

How have your other interests/hobbies/career influenced your glass designs?

Things I love show up in my glass panels, like my cats. I love red chili peppers as a decor. I love to ride my Harley and one of the recent pieces I did was of my friend's Harley Road King, aka The Blue Whale.

What inspires you?

The better question is what doesn't? Everywhere I look I see a design. My third project was based on a painting I painted when I was a child. I was always artistic and I painted a scene of sailboats at sunset. My mom loved it so much, she had it preserved, framed, and it has hung on her wall for almost 40 years. I took a photo of it and slightly enlarged it and did a glass panel for her for Mother's Day. It later took a blue ribbon in the County Fair (she missed it while it was on display). I'm also a programmer and when I get an idea, I have to fly to my computer. With glass, I'll get an idea and as soon as I can get back near my workshop, I'll look for images or just freehand my designs.

What makes your work unique from everyone elses?

I don't know about unique other than I see something in my mind's eye and create it; I do love the use of color and mixing mediums.

Whos work, glass or otherwise, do you most admire?

My friend, Linda, who taught me stained glass has done some AMAZING pieces. I strive to someday be able to hold a candle to her. Also, my local supplier, Lorne, has had a shop in town for 35 years and he does amazing kiln work and stained glass lamps to die for. There is also a local artist named Simone Archer who I got to meet in November at an Open Artist Tour where artists had open houses displaying their work, and Simone took an interest in me after seeing photos of my work. She does beautiful fused glass and is just getting into stained glass.

Do you sell your work? If so, where?

I have a 'store' on Etsy but haven't sold much there. I sell more to people I know. I sold five business card holders during the Holiday Season and a few night lights. They make great gifts.

What advice would you give other glass artists?

Carry a camera with you. Sometimes I'll be out someplace and see something that inspires me to do a glass panel, or I'll see a necklace or piece of jewelry that I feel would be a good basis to do a fused piece with. Also, if you are travelling, check to see if there's a glass supplier in town - it's fun to see different things that different dealers have.

What tools do you recommend?

For foiling, I love my little roller tool for burninshing the foil. The handle has a groove in it to crimp and burnish the edges and the wheel gets the foil SOOO smooth on the surface of the glass. Delphi sells them.

When it's cold, have a hairdryer handy. I can't run my kiln and the hairdryer at the same time (I found out), but heating your glass before cutting will ensure your cuts come out 'as expected.'

Invest in a ring saw. They come in handy for unusual shapes with deep cuts. Wear long sleeves or a labcoat when using one otherwise you end up with your forearms covered in glass shards (and you will look like the Cullen family if you go out in the sunlight.)

I stand when grinding and cutting and since this is on concrete slab in my garage, I have rubber matting to stand on. You wouldn't believe how much this helps prevent an aching back. Watch the height of your machinery too - you don't want to be bent over your equipment. Ergonomics is everything!

To contact Marian, visit her Etsy page or her stained glass website.

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LINDA B.  •  January 18, 2011
Marian, Thank you for mentioning me and my glass piece I made for friends wife's passing. I enjoyed teaching you stained-glass because you were a very quick learner. Keep up the good work. Linda Bustinduy
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Izabela N.  •  January 18, 2011
Great tips. Thank you for sharing.


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