LIGNITE – Glassworking is a tricky business, but Sandy Shefstad says there’s a pleasure more people should experience.
Shefstad, owner of A Touch of Glass Design, Lignite, has been working on stained glass and other art glass projects for over 10 years. She has taught glass art classes at Powers Lake at the invitation of the Hygge Hotel, where her work can also be seen throughout the restored historic building.
“I guess I have an old soul. I have always loved old stained glass since I was little. My father was in the air force, and therefore, luckily for us, we were able to see Luxembourg, the beautiful churches and the different places in Europe ”, she said.
Her family eventually returned to North Dakota and settled in Tioga. After her marriage, Shefstad moved to the Lignite region, where her 36-year-old husband, Todd, grew up.
Never having lost her interest in stained glass, she one day bought a book on the creation of stained glass and began to teach herself. She discovered Margie’s Art Glass Studio in Minot and took a few classes. His three daughters didn’t like stained glass, so Shefstad added mosaics to his glasswork. Her daughters also persuaded her to try molten glass.
“But I still love stained glass. This is my first love. It’s nice. You put so much into it – the way you combine your colors to make it stand out ”, said Shefstad.
Although some disagree, she does not consider her work to be a true art form.
“I consider myself a craftsman” she said.
She enjoyed other crafts, but none as much as stained glass.
“This is who I am,” she said. “I would very much like people to be interested in this profession, because I think it is dying. “
People are more inclined to buy the items they want rather than making them by hand, which is unfortunate, she said.
“By doing a job, you learn to be patient. You learn to put a piece of yourself in the trade. It’s a part of you. You can’t get it when you buy it ”, she said. “To me, a handmade gift is better than a store-bought gift.”
Shefstad donated several of his creations. She started showing at the Burke County Fair in 2010. Although she doesn’t do a lot of vendor shows, she is a regular at the Divide County Threshing Bee.
In 2013, she moved into a former FEMA mobile home in her rural residence, moving her activities out of the basement of her house. The FEMA structure moved from St. John houses its kiln, supplies and finished work. She retired from her job as a customs broker, giving herself more time for her three grandchildren and glass projects.
Shefstad is also known for its glass repair work.
“I had a lot of fun with some of the coins people brought me because the coin meant a lot to them” she said. “It’s such a wonderful feeling to think that there is a legacy that someone is clinging to, not knowing what to do with it, and now it’s something they can continue to pass on because now you can use it. You can display it.
Repair projects can be more difficult than new creations.
“Sometimes they’re very difficult. I like challenges “, said Shefstad. Her first repair project was particularly difficult because the piece of glass was so broken that she had to take it apart, redraw it and recreate it with the cut pieces. Some customers have suggested that she throw away scrap parts if they can’t be repaired, but Shefstad said she would redesign a part but never throw it away.
“”I like to recycle,” she said. “A lot of my repairs, to me, are recycling. “
In his own house, Shefstad has a few pieces of his work. His glass projects are typically found in the homes of other people in the area and in other states.
“I love to see the looks on people’s faces when they buy them – that they love them as much as I do,” she said.
One piece that Shefstad does not intend to part with, however, is a stained glass window with tulips, created in memory of his mother. It was one of his most enjoyable projects because of the memories he brought back.
“I don’t want to sell it. It means too much, she said.
(Prairie Profile is a weekly article featuring interesting people in our area. We welcome suggestions from our readers. Call Regional Editor Eloise Ogden at 857-1944 or 1-800-735-3229. You can also send suggestions. by email to eogden @ minotdailynews .com.)