May 2, 2024 - News

Make your own stained glass at St. Pete studio

A woman in a baseball cap with "St. Petersburg" embroidered three times leans over a table cutting a piece of purple glass.

Cutting glass is strangely satisfying. Photo: Dianne Polis

I tried out glass sculpting last year, so when I heard about a St. Pete studio offering classes in another glass art medium, I had to give it a try.

State of play: Owner Jodi Chemes opened Glass of Life at 499 Seventh Ave. N in Historic Uptown and started offering stained glass-making lessons in January.

  • The beginners' class is over two, two-hour sessions for $150, which includes materials, tools and instruction.

How it works: After registering, paying for and scheduling the class online, I headed to the studio on a Saturday morning in closed-toed shoes, as requested in the confirmation email.

  • First, Jodi had our class of six people pick out what we wanted to make from a few printed-out designs that we numbered and cut out to use like a stencil for each piece.
  • Then, we picked out glass from the tons of colors Jodi had on hand.
  • Using the paper stencil, we used a glass cutter to make each piece and a glass grinder to shape and smooth the edges.
  • The second session was when we turned up the heat, fusing the pieces together using copper foil, flux, solder and a soldering iron.
An overhead view of a table with a numbered design and pieces of glass cut in shapes to match the design.
Post-cutting and pre-soldering. Photo: Kathryn Varn/Axios

The vibe: The studio is easy to find in a cute neighborhood with street parking. The studio setup was a little chaotic, so keep a close eye on your pieces (I kept almost losing mine in the clutter).

  • I was late to my second class and didn't finish my piece in time, and Jodi allowed me to come in a third time for no extra charge.
  • Jodi is also a dog lover and donates profits from her art to animal charities.

The verdict: The medium was easy and fun to learn, and Jodi covered the bases well. And I loved being able to take home a piece I made. It turned out pretty, don't you think?

A stained glass piece of a setting sun.
I'm so proud! Photo: Kathryn Varn/Axios
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