Art can be portrayed as fragile, but not as fragile as a piece of stained glass art.
At Lansing Art Glass, located at 2320 E. Michigan Ave., the shop makes custom stained art from glass and also repairs any glass that may be broken as well.
Linda Stevens, the owner of Lansing Art Glass, said she has been running a shop for 26 years and has been at their current location for the past 16 years.
“I liked Victorian windows and I couldn’t afford to buy them,” Stevens said. “So I thought I’d learn how to make them.”
Stevens said the lamps in the store are imported from Mexico, China, Korea, Taiwan and the Philippians, and then she repairs them.
“I do custom work, repairs, and sell supplies to people who do this,” Stevens said. “I make some stuff that I feature in my window.”
While Stevens is the sole worker at the shop, she has several people come in to help her maintain the store.
Stevens’ mother, Elsie Stownehouse, said she comes in for about three hours every Monday through Friday and does bookkeeping.
“I also do some foiling work in the shop,” Stownehouse said. “That’s when you take some foil and stick it to the glass and solder both sides.”
Stownehouse, who started helping her daughter after retiring as a catering coordinator at Michigan State University’s Student Union, said she does jobs that need to be done and other tedious work.
Stevens said business has been doing OK but there have been some ups and downs.
“When the recession came, there were problems,” Stevens said. “I do things that nobody else does and I’ve been doing it a long time. There’s nobody really else that does this.”
Stevens said she sells a lot of gift type items as well.
“People that collect Mickey Mouse, I can make them Mickey Mouse suncatchers,” Stevens said. “I can make them a privacy window or a Victorian window.”
Stevens said that December is her busiest month because of Christmas and people coming in to buy gifts.
“At Christmas, people come in and grab stuff and I put them in little boxes,” Stevens said.
Stevens said she doesn’t have a website as she doesn’t want to be busy more than she already is.
“I don’t want to hire a bunch of people and then have to manage them,” Stevens said. “I actually want to do the glass. I’d rather do it myself than instruct people and make sure they’re doing it right. That’s why I’ve been doing this so long and that’s why people keep coming back.”
John Ulrich said he also comes in to help Stevens with some work around the shop.
“I do electrical repair, washing, cleaning, and stain the glass,” Ulrich said. “I wax everything that comes out of the shop and make it look sparkly.”
Ulrich said he’s been helping Stevens for the past 15 years and comes in every three hours, Monday through Friday and most Saturdays.
“This is only a part-time job,” Ulrich said. “Linda is a friend of mine and I just ended up helping out.”