Beauty of stained glass comes alive in Searcy

By Tammy Garrett Published April 20, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.
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Courtesy of Brittany Garrett

Rebecca Miller was one of the visitors to Susan Nolte's shop in downtown Searcy for a class on making framed Easter creations. Easter was the focus of this month’s stained-glass class at Glass From the Past in downtown Searcy. Participants chose among an Easter egg, bunny and lily for their creations.

SEARCY — Stained glass is most often associated with church windows. However, since Susan Nolte came to Searcy, locals are bringing the beauty of stained glass that they create themselves into their homes.

Nolte, who is the proprietor of Glass From the Past on Spring Street in Searcy, took classes to help her mother with a window project about 16 years ago. Since then, Nolte has been using her artistic talents to create and repair stained-glass items and teach others about the age-old art.

“I love everything about it,” Nolte said, as she worked on a mosaic background for a razorback-themed piece at her shop. “I enjoy repair work and coming up with different projects.”

“She’s a great teacher,” Nolte’s friend and longtime student Gayla Currier said as she shopped in the store for supplies for a project. “We go antiquing together, and I just follow her and watch what she picks up. It’s amazing to see how she ends up using some of the things she finds.”

Nolte said she sometimes uses antiques to enhance jewelry and other pieces.

Since coming to Searcy five years ago, Nolte has tackled some large projects, including work at First Methodist Church in downtown Searcy, as well as some homes in the area. She also created panels for the newest addition to Trinity Episcopal Church in Searcy.

Nolte is happy to share her knowledge of decorative glass projects with the wide variety of people who attend her classes.

“We get all ages, from 6-year-olds and up. We have everyone from Bible study groups to ladies looking for a girls’ night out, to Scout troops and birthday parties,” she said.

Nolte also holds summer camps for kids, though a schedule for this year’s event has not been finalized.

One project per month is chosen for classes, with this month’s project being Easter, Nolte said.

Participants were given the choice of creating a framed piece featuring an Easter egg, a bunny or a lily.

She noted that stained glass is glass that can be cut, foiled or soldered.

The decorative glass Nolte employs can also be used in mosaics, which are made by using bits and pieces of glass to fit into a desired form.

“It’s kind of like working a puzzle,” she said. Fusible glass, which can be put into a kiln, is a type of glass often used in the making of jewelry, she explained.

“Some people are afraid to try working with stained glass, but once they do, it’s easy to get hooked,” Nolte said.

There is a $30 fee for participation in one of Nolte’s classes. For more information, call Glass From the Past at (501) 368-0300 or visit the shop’s Facebook page.

None Tammy Garrett can be reached at .

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