Making the looking glass

Anchorage transplant opens custom glass shop in Sterling

Posted: Thursday, December 22, 2005


  Sandy Stevens displays one of her favorite stained glass creations. She has opened a shop in Sterling. Photo by M. Scott Moon

Sandy Stevens displays one of her favorite stained glass creations. She has opened a shop in Sterling.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Stained glass enthusiasts on the Kenai Peninsula have a new option for their favored art starting this week off Betty Lou Drive near Sterling.

Sandy Stevens, the owner and resident artist of Custom Stained Glass, is new to Sterling but an old hand at her craft.

After three years operating a Custom Stained Glass store on Ninth Avenue and Denali Street in busy downtown Anchorage, artist Sandy Stevens and her husband were ready for a fresh start away from the city’s stressful pace.

“We wanted to get the heck out of Anchorage,” Stevens said.

Now nestled in the woods near Scout Lake, Custom Stained Glass is ready to serve peninsula residents, although the opening has taken a bit longer to materialize than Stevens initially expected.

“We started in August and we were hoping it would take about two weeks,” she said. It just kept getting more and more elaborate as time went by.”

The location that was meant to be home to a small custom glass shop grew in scope until it reached its current incarnation: a large glass shop and artist’s studio with space enough to allow Stevens to teach others how to do the work she’s enjoyed for 25 years.

Stevens taught a few classes in Anchorage, but there wasn’t enough space to allow for more than a student or two to learn. Now, she’ll be able to teach beginning and intermediate classes to four students at a time.

Although specifics on the classes have yet to be set, Stevens envisions two hour-long sessions twice a week for five weeks.

Though Stevens herself specializes in Alaska themes such as moose, caribou and eagles on snow-capped mountains or in lush forests, her expertise should help students take their art in any direction they choose. That is, after all, what she did.

Stevens most recently learned custom framing in Portland, Ore., where she goes at least once a year to learn new stained glass skills.

Previous trips focused on techniques for creating beveled glass and jewelry boxes. Requests from her clients and coveted items for collectors let Stevens know what skills to hone on trips to Portland.

“I just go down there, say ‘This is what I need to learn,’ and they teach me,’” Stevens said.

She teaches what she’s learned and what she makes: lamps, suncatchers, windows, jewelry boxes and custom picture frames, which match the color scheme of the photo the frame is meant to house. Stevens says this is a popular item for wedding photos.

“There aren’t too many people who do that,” Stevens said. “That’s my biggest seller.”

Stevens’ shop opened this week, and is open between 1 and 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. She doesn’t yet accept credit cards, but will begin to in January.

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