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Gentle hand, strong woman at Evergreen Stained Glass

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By Sara Miller

MaryAnne DeAngelis is many things — a teacher, a mentor, an artist, a businessperson. Most importantly, DeAngelis is a strong woman with a gentle hand, and this has been the key to her success in her stained-glass business and in her life.

DeAngelis worked in real estate for many years and finally grew weary of the competitive nature of the business. Looking for a new creative outlet in her life, DeAngelis took a class in making stained glass at Colorado Free University.

“I was awful,” DeAngelis says, pulling her first completed piece off of a shelf in the back of her studio. The solder beads surrounding each piece of glass are jagged with multiple pits and stops.

“The problem was that my soldering iron was only heating to about 800 degrees. You need to be heating some solder to over 1,000 degrees to get a really smooth, round bead,” says DeAngelis.

In spite of her initial failures, DeAngelis had found a creative medium that spoke to her, and she persevered. Within a year, DeAngelis had quit her job in real estate and joined the team at a stained-glass studio in Denver. Her goal was to one day open her own stained glass studio and shop.

“I learned so much working as part of a studio. I was improving my own technique, teaching classes and discovering my love of color,” says DeAngelis.

Fast-forward one more year, and DeAngelis found a studio and retail space in the Adobe Creek Center in Kittredge near her home. Evergreen Stained Glass was born. DeAngelis focused her business in four distinct areas: stained-glass classes, supplies, stained-glass repairs and custom commissions.

Her classes are 6 weeks long, and she has many repeat customers who return to learn additional skills and techniques.

“I expect a lot from my students. They must respect one another. The basis of a good education is compassion and kindness. Everything else as far as technique will fall into place,” says DeAngelis.

The shop is filled with original glass art created on site by DeAngelis. Her work is a unique blend of fused and stained-glass processes. A piece called “Wine Bottle” won an award in the 2007 Glass at the Gardens juried show at the Denver Botanic Gardens. The piece depicts two wine glasses next to a bottle. DeAngelis used half of an actual wine bottle to achieve a three-dimensional effect. The grape bunches that hang above are fused-glass nuggets that are layered to create rounded clusters.

DeAngelis’ 2008 submission for the show is a three-dimensional replication of King Tut’s death mask created with fused, shaped and stained glass. DeAngelis painstakingly created the mask’s textured jewel inlays and Tut’s braided beard in fused glass.

DeAngelis’ recent commissions are no less stunning than her own artistic creations. She recently completed a series of 12 windows for The Celtic Tavern in Littleton. Each window re-creates the logos of Jameson, Murphy’s Irish Stout, and other spirits served at the pub.

“I had all of these liquors bottles strewn across my worktable so that I could look at the labels when I was making the windows,” says DeAngelis. “It was very funny because I’m an Irish woman who doesn’t drink.”

DeAngelis’ humor and strong spirit infuse all of her work, along with her meticulous attention to detail and technique.

“All it takes is a desire to learn. I love sharing what I’ve learned over the years in my own art and in teaching my students. Stained glass is truly a gift.”

To see more of DeAngelis’ work or to register for a class, call Evergreen Stained Glass at 303-679-9006 or visit the shop at 26290 Hwy 74 in Kittredge.

Sara Miller, a freelance writer and a resident of Evergreen, lives with her husband, two children and a dog.