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(Photo - Michael Watts)

My stained glass journey began in 1987 in a little shop in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, called Stained Glass Gallery. It was there I learned the basics of the craft and quickly moved from suncatchers to commissioned windows for homes, churches and businesses. During this time I developed a line of gift items that were picked up by a wholesale distributor in Massachusetts and sold to various retail and mail order companies throughout the US, Canada and the UK.

In 1994 I decided to get more serious about my stained glass work and sought employment at Bovard Studios in Fairfield, Iowa. This was one of the largest and most prolific stained glass studios in the country at that time and although it was located 93 miles from my home, the grueling commute was a small price to pay for the experience. It was there I developed my leading techniques and learned the basics of glass painting by staying after work to watch their talented artists in action. I also had the opportunity to work on the road, removing antique stained glass windows for restoration and reinstalling them with protective covering, which provided first hand experience of how windows age. Undertanding what worked and what didn't work in the past is an important part of creating new windows that will truly last. One of the highlights of the Bovard era was learning historical stained glass preservation techniques by visiting consultant, Art Femenella, which I will be forever grateful for.

Eager to live in a more cosmopolitan area, I moved to the Twin Cities in 1999 and began working for Gaytee Stained Glass in Minneapolis. As with most studios, I had to prove myself in the shop first but within six months I was promoted to Art Director. I worked on some really great projects over the next year and a half there but the highlight of this era was a set of four stained glass windows I designed and painted for the casino of Royal Carribean Cruiseship "Radiance" featuring reproductions of Alphonse Mucha's "Precious Gems" illustrations. They loved them so much they wanted to incorporate the same windows into their next four ships.

In 2001 I decided it was time to strike out on my own. With the help of Viking Stained Glass, who contracted me to create all their new windows, I was able to build a stronger portfolio and began acquiring my own stained glass clients in the area.

A couple years into the business, I found myself presented with a great opportunity to explore the world of interior design when hired by luxury home builder, Dave Alan, Inc., to assist his clients in creating new homes in the Lake of the Isles area of Minneapolis. As a result, I was contracted by interior designer, Brandi Hagen, to assist with her new construction projects. I also began providing color consultations and assistance with remodeling projects for some of my own clients. This three-year period of time was an amazing experience that truly changed the way I approach stained glass design. It's one thing to be able create a window that will blend with an environment but quite another to create one that will truly enhance it.

2005 presented yet another amazing opportunity, allowing me to move to France and spend time traveling around Europe, studying and photographing historical stained glass windows in cathedrals and public buildings. This was another invaluable experience that informs much of what I do today.

Returning to the Twin Cities in 2006, I picked up where I left off and continue to provide some of the finest quality stained glass available today.