Local couple spends quality time making stained glass

Published 12:56 am Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Since age 14, Pat Nerren has been dabbling in one form of art or another. Coming from a long line of artists Nerren has tried her hand at sewing, glass painting, gourd painting, pottery and soap making, but in 1996 she turned her focus toward an art that still fascinates her to this day.

In 1996, her boss came to her with a piece of broken stained glass and told her that he would pay $1,000 to have it fixed. With dollar signs in her eyes, Nerren went to the library and checked out every book on stained glass and taught herself to fix the glass.

“I’ve been hooked ever since,” Nerren said.

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Nerren enjoys working with glass, saying she is fascinated with the variety of colors, shapes and densities of glass.

“Glass is beautiful,” Nerren said.

In 2000, she married her husband Clark, and united not only their love for each other, but also his career as a petroleum geologist and her love of stained glass. It was a match made in heaven.

For his job Clark drafts structure maps of oil and gas wells for drilling companies using his own computer programs and equipment at his house. Having the drafting programs and a plotter, Clark is able to draft stained glass patterns and print them for Pat however big or small she wants them.

After he drafts the pattern the two retreat to their art studio they built five years ago behind their house and get to work on the stained glass piece. She starts with deciding what colors she’s going to use, and then she hands it off to Clark to do the cutting and grinding.

“It’s like therapy to me,” Clark said, “And, I like being with her.”

After he’s finished, Pat lays the pieces together on the draft to make sure they fit, then she cleans and foils each piece, then solders them together and patinas it to finish. Then the piece is hung in a frame. Overall it takes them about 40 or more hours to do each piece.

The piece is priced by the square foot, the same method Clark uses to charge for his maps. Each piece cost approximately $50 or more.

“We didn’t get into it for the money,” Clark said.

The two sell their work at area craft shows and out of their house. They also do repairs on stained-glass windows.

“It’s a hobby that has turned into interests for other people,” Pat said. “As soon as it turns into work, I’m not doing it anymore.”

In recent years, Pat has decided to share her love of the art with other people, teaching classes at the studio in her house.

The next four-week beginner session she’s calling “Hunter’s Widows,” will start after Thanksgiving.

The class will meet once a week and is offered in the mornings and evenings on Tuesdays and Thursdays. For more information contact Pat Nerren at 601-445-5026.