13 Jan Exhibitor Spotlight – Seymour Stained Glass
In 1998, Karen Seymour was in the market for a small table for her back yard. Then she found a stone mosaic table at a local garden center. An idea struck her – “I can do better than that!” Having received some instruction way back in high school many years ago, Karen made her very first table, a 48-inch Koi pond. She proudly showed it to her friends and family, and they wanted one too. The rest, they say, is history. Karen was now an acclaimed stained glass artist and owner of Seymour Stained Glass.
Karen has been able to use her many years of computer training to design and generate the patterns she produces for her work. It also helped her organize her popular classes. She began exhibiting at the show in 2004.
One of the things that continually draws her to stained glass is its interplay with light. The colors in the class change depending on how the light strikes it, and pieces can look completely different when they are hanging free and viewed from either side.
Karen draws her ideas from all over, even her dreams. She admired the way Ginko leaves change color, and then used that in a design for a lantern. One morning she woke up and the design for planets and comets was floating in her head. A Chinese opera robe inspired the design of the red-crowned crane, now gracing a tabletop. Trying to emulate the look and feel of waterfalls gave her the design for her heron piece. And she is currently working on a path light inspired by the cliffs she =saw on a trip to the Southwest.
Karen not only enjoys creating stained glass pieces for clients, she loves to teach too. Her passion for stained glass is conveyed to her students in her classes. Her husband, Dick Seymour, is the self-described “class heckler” and roadie for her traveling shows. (It’s far more fun than his day job managing computer systems for physicists at the University of Washington.) He has a lot of patience assisting students learning the delicate task of cutting the glass. Dick also makes the circuit boards for the lanterns and helps with the metalwork.
Karen teaches an “All You Need to Know” class for beginners. This half-day class teaches how to cut, grind, glue and grout, as you create your own “mini-tabletop” that can be used as a coaster. Then you can go on to bigger things and more advanced classes with the skills you have learned, such as the class on making a colorful rainbow lantern. Pre-cut custom kits are also available for those who aren’t quite so adventursome and don’t want to cut their own glass.
You may think that Karen’s stained glass pieces are very fragile, but they are designed and built to withstand weather with a little extra care. If you have a table, just don’t set something hot off the grill on it; use a trivet. Also be careful of temperature extremes, such as filling a bird bath with very cold water on a very hot day. If you apply a penetrating grout sealer every few years tables will remain stain resistant. Of course, the glass is beautiful, so you can always bring it into the house in freezing weather if you don’t ever want to re-grout the piece. If you do leave a piece out during freezing weather, the grout may eventually crumble if you don’t keep water from freezing in it.
Karen is the author of two books. Her first, Glass on Glass: Stained Glass Tabletops You Can See Through, is perfect for someone who has a glass table, but wants to turn it into a piece of beauty. The book provides complete instructions for appliquéing stained glass to an existing tempered glass tabletop. It includes detailed instructions for gardeners and beginning artists, in full color with 14 stained glass patterns in various sizes.
Karen’s second book, Garden Light: Solar Powered Lanterns and other Garden Accents, teaches how to transform an ordinary glass-topped table into a work of art, a platter into a jewel-like birdbath and a storage jar into a colorful, solar powered lantern (lanterns can also be created using traditional lead or copper foil for indoor use). Similar in format to Karen’s first, this book differs in assuming you have basic glass cutting skills.
Be sure to visit Karen’s beautiful exhibit booth at the show #1002 to see her stained glass pieces or talk to her about learning how to make your own! And for the complete list of all our garden-related exhibitors, go to http://nwf.gs/c5ewWY. – Janet