Colleen and Stan Price bring glass to the masses.
They have spent decades sharing their passion for stained glass at Covenant Art Glass, where they do commission work, repairs and sell supplies at the shop at 3232 Broadway in Everett.
They also have a teaching studio.
“We’ve had some students coming for 20 years,” Stan said. “It’s their bowling night. Instead of a bowling trophy at the end of a time period they go home with a nice window.”
Tired of the winter doldrums? The place is light and pretty.
“A lot of what we do is almost healing to people,” Colleen said.
The couple were among the Everett Cultural Arts Commission’s 2014 recipients of the Mayor’s Arts Awards.
They have lived in the same house in Everett’s Rucker Hill area for 36 years and have three grown children — Courtney, Casey and Katelyn.
More at www.covenantartglass.com.
Talk about your business.
First we just want to establish that Covenant Art Glass is open, thriving and excited to meet the glass needs of the area. There was some confusion when the glass manufacturer, Spectrum Glass Co., announced their closure. Some thought that would mean we had to close, but that is absolutely not the case. In fact since that announcement, that product line has been sold to a company in California.
So back to where we started: Stan had a master’s degree in art with an emphasis in glass. We were the caretakers at the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, but Stan wasn’t getting enough time to work on his glass art. Every time we needed any glass supplies, we had to go into Seattle to get them. Even though neither of us had any background in business, we came up with the crazy idea that we should open a stained glass store in Everett.
That was 1979. It is quite miraculous we were able to stay in business all these years. We have had three locations during our 38 years in business. We started out at 3014 Rucker Ave., then moved to 3001 Rucker Ave., until ultimately in 1997 we built a building we now own at 3232 Broadway.
We have more glass in our inventory than anytime in the last 38 years.
How has your work and the glass realm changed?
Stan: We have always been a teaching studio, and have seamlessly taught many glass classes alongside all the commission work and repairs we do on a weekly basis. In the last 10 years we have greatly increased the amount of kiln work we do, which has changed our work and our class selection.
Our first seven years in business we had no kiln. Then we had a small one we used rarely. But now we have five kilns, one of which can fire a piece 4 by 6 in size. I had always felt constrained by the design limitations of traditional stained glass. Kilnwork has freed me to create artwork unbound by the structural restraints of the lead line.
Being named artist of the year by the Arts Council of Snohomish County (now the Schack Art Center) in 2006 was huge for me. I began creating my own artwork again, and not just what someone else wanted. Most of that work was done in a kiln and has been very rewarding.
When Spectrum Glass announced their closing, it promoted a worldwide buying frenzy. Since about 80 percent of our inventory has been Spectrum, we participated in the buying up of inventory. We took some retirement savings and used it to stock up. We are confident we have plenty of glass for our projects and our customers to carry through until the product line resurfaces later this year.
What do you want people to know about glass arts?
Stan: In many ways creating stained glass pieces is easier than you may think, but it is time intensive. That is one reason why fusing glass has gained such popularity — it can be much less time intensive to create a work of art.
What are some myths?
Stan: A common myth is that very old glass is thicker at the bottom since glass, on a molecular level, is a liquid. The truth is glass made prior to the 19th century was hand blown and it often varies in thickness. We still have one manufacturer creating sheet glass this way and it is located in Seattle. Jim Flanagan of Fremont Antique Glass hand blows amazing glass that we use often in our work.
What classes do you offer?
Colleen: We offer many classes starting with our six-week stained glass course, and then running a wide range from there. Some of our classes are skill building and others are a fun “make it, take it” that require no previous experience or skill. Fusing and mosaic classes are both very popular. We keep a full listing of scheduled classes on our website.
Stan: We let people make whatever they want. Whatever they want to do, we try to help them get there.
What is the most unusual item you have made or seen made?
Stan: Recently we had the privilege to create a memorial window for a chapel in a hospital in Cedar City, Utah. It was probably one of the most complex designs we have ever done, and one thing that made it unusual is we incorporated some of the ashes of the deceased patron into the window.
Do you ever cut your fingers?
Colleen: Yes, but most the time it is just small nicks. Often, I just use masking tape on them, not wanting to waste a Band-Aid on something so minor.
If you could share a meal with anyone alive or deceased, who would it be and why?
Stan: It would have to be Jesus and Abraham Lincoln, with the question, “How do you heal a divided nation?” It is hard to know if there is an answer to that complex question, but in a very, very small way, what we do at Covenant Art Glass tries to be healing. It is not surprising that many people find creating things of beauty therapeutic to their soul. It is rewarding to us to see people encouraged and strengthened by their time in our store.
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