Artists at work on tour

November 11, 2002|BY JULIE E. GREENE

If you've broken your favorite glass goblet or plate, don't throw it away.

That's not trash; it's treasure to stained glass artist Sheila Brannan.

Brannan has incorporated antique glass bottles, bicycle gears, seashells and broken glass into her designs.

A stained glass artist for 25 years, Brannan began making free form stained glass about four or five years ago.

The Shepherdstown artist was one of more than a dozen West Virginia artisans who had their wares on display throughout the Eastern Panhandle on Saturday as part of the 13th annual Over the Mountain Studio Tour.

Brannan and wooden bowl maker Steve Adams set up displays at Windsor chair maker Thomas A. D'Onofrio's Persimmon Lane home west of Shepherdstown.


Charles Town area residents Michael Seger, 50, and Clark Whitman, 48, each bought a stained glass design from Brannan.

"I could buy four more," Whitman told Brannan.

The pair said they took the studio tour specifically to see Brannan's work. They hope to take lessons from her to learn to make their own stained glass designs.

Seger said he likes the free form of her designs with chunks of glass mixed in with stained glass and copper wire. He also likes the various colors the morning sun will catch as his new purchase hangs in a window.

Brannan started off making traditional stained glass for bathroom windows, skylights and kitchen cupboards.

To begin making free form stained glass she looked for interesting objects such as a goblet she bought at a Harpers Ferry flea market and antique bottles she had collected.

"The more I allowed myself to experiment, the more ideas I came up with," said Brannan, 52.

Brannan compares her glass designs to painting. She doesn't set out to create a specific picture. She finds an interesting scrap and combines colors to build around it.

She has used geodes, refrigerator tubing, a broken Blenko vase base and copper coils from an air conditioner.

Brannan takes orders for traditional as well as free form stained glass. She has made stained glass mobiles and lawn ornaments.

She made an almost 6-foot-high interior window using seashells, beach glass and colors rising from dark blue to gold at the top with wave patterns so you get the feeling you are underwater looking up at the sun.

Brannan said her custom price is usually $150 per square foot. Her smaller pieces that can hang in front of windows tend to range from around $55 to $155.

Brannan's latest work is usually on display at The Lost Dog Coffee shop in Shepherdstown. To make an appointment with Brannan, call 1-301-876-1044.

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