On the cutting edge of art

Arvella Scott is on the cutting edge of art.That?s because she makes stained-glass windows and has to cut the glass, and sometimes, the glass cuts her.
Even with the occasional cut, she enjoys making her creations, which can range in sizes from small figurines to large windows. What she likes about it is the creativity, she said.
?I think this idea of being able to do something that has a lot of beauty to it is just self-fulfilling,? Scott said, sitting in her shop studio.
The Zimmerdale resident opened her shop, Cross Roads Stained Glass and Gifts, on Black Friday 2013. Zimmerdale is on Old High?way 81 between Newton and Hesston. This is the only business in Zimmerdale, she said. It?s on the north side of the road at 4906 N. Hesston Road, which Scott said used to be called Old 81. So one could say it?s on Old Old Highway 81. The Scotts have lived in Zimmerdale for four years, having moved from Hutchinson.
?I started doing stained glass in ?86,? Scott said. ?I used to go to craft shows, but I always wanted to open my own studio. And now I have. We have a place that allows me the room to do that.?
The place in which she and her husband, Wayne, who retired from Southwestern Bell, reside and have their gift/consignment shop is an old 5,000-square-foot warehouse on the north side of the road with a large ?open? sign out front. Part of the warehouse houses their comfy home, complete with a carpeted indoor ramp their grandchildren enjoy sliding down on cookie sheets, as well as bedrooms, a kitchen, living area and bathroom.
The gift shop/studio take up another portion of the large building, where a variety of items, such as jewelry, hand-made olive oil soaps made by daughter Cathy Gray of Phoenix, decorative-painted items and handmade pottery, are for sale. Scott?s stained-glass studio is in the same room, which makes it easy for her to help customers who stop by while she?s creating something.
When she?s in her studio, Scott listens to calming music. As of early March, she had almost completed the first of 17 stained-glass windows on the life of Jesus and other Bible stories for East Side United Methodist Church in Newton. Scott anticipates the project will take two years. This first window features a hand-painted center medallion of Jesus. Other windows will have similar medallions with other images.
?That?s what the church has chosen (medallions), (and) I had a really wonderful committee to work with,? Scott said.
After the windows are completed, they?ll be insulated to be energy-efficient. The church wants to have this first window installed by Easter, Scott said.
Scott has made stained-glass windows for others, including a nephew for whom she?s completed two windows, and a customer who came into the Zimmer?dale shop wanting a moose-designed stained-glass piece to hang on a door.
Scott learned her craft by taking classes at Cloud County Community College and Bearden?s Stained Glass in Wichita. She received one hour of college credit for taking the beginning stained-glass class at the community college. The classes she?s taken at Bearden?s include advanced stained glass, lamp making, bead making, kiln glass and stained-glass repair.
?So I know how to repair a big window?without having to take it completely apart,? Scott said.
Scott draws a lot of her own patterns; she took art in college, and that?s helped her in composing stained-glass pieces. She graduated in 1994 with a degree in psychology with an emphasis on chemical dependency.
?I love working with people,? Scott said. ?I love getting acquainted and working with people. That?s why I chose counseling. Now that I work in the shop, I get to work with people in a different capacity.?
Scott was employed by the Regional Prevention Center for five years and found her first counseling job at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility. She also spent five years in the private sector.
?I really enjoyed the work in the prison because it gave hope for the future,? Scott said. ?We planted a seed and gave them tools so when they decided to change (not all of them changed), then they would have the tools to and know where to go for help.?
When Scott was working in Winfield as a counselor, she was hurt in a car wreck. Even after she was transferred to Wichita to work, the driving back and forth proved to be too much for her. So she quit.
?This is something I?ve wanted to open for a long time,? Scott said.
Now Scott finds her own help from her surroundings. Working in the gift shop allows her to be surrounded by beauty and creativity, which helps her stay focused on being creative, she said.
Scott has a variety of tools in her shop, including a glass cutter, as well as diamond bits for drilling holes in glass, like for jewelry. She uses a soldering iron and solder, which is 60 percent lead and 40 percent silver, a smoother solder than the 50-50 variety, she said.
Once the piece is soldered, after having cut the glass, cement has to go under the lead, which makes it tight with the glass, Scott said. Then she uses a whitener on the piece and adds a black patina to the lead. Scott has many colors of glass in her studio and hopes to sell stained-glass products in the future.
She?s also offering classes, the first of which was a stained-glass class in April that reached the 10-student limit. She also offered a bead-making class April 26. Barbara Lay, a member of the Sweetheart Decorative Painting Society of Kansas, will teach decorative painting classes, the first of which was scheduled for May. Lay also has some items for sale in the shop.
?I want to get more consignees in with items,? Scott said, as she?s looking for quality pieces to sell made by artisans.
Scott plans to offer more classes in June. Upcoming stained-glass classes include an angel-making class and a house or birdhouse class. Scott said a lot of people are interested in the stained-glass classes, as they want to make their own windows. To find out more information about upcoming classes, call the shop at 316-712-8341.
?I?m willing to help anyone, whether with design, color or technique,? Scott said.
The basic class is a prerequisite for taking more advanced stained-glass classes at the shop, Scott said. The advanced classes will teach glass-over-glass and 3-D techniques. The beginning class will have students cutting the glass, selecting patterns, grinding glass down, and foil wrapping, soldering and lead caming. Came is the metal that goes between the pieces of glass.
Eventually, the shop will expand into more of the warehouse area, where there will be four big work tables, at which people will be able to use the grinder, soldering iron and flux. Flux is an acid base that takes the finish off of the metal so solder will adhere to it. Scott wants people to be able to go to the shop and use some of her equipment, as it can be pricey to purchase. A grinder can cost $300 and a saw can run $500, she said.
?I want to make stained glass more economical for people,? Scott said.
Even though her hands get blackened from the lead, cut and sore, Scott enjoys herself.
?It?s like a therapy,? she said. ?I think anyone who does anything creative ? whether it is painting, quilting, stained-glass ? it?s just good therapy. I just love doing anything that?s creative.?
Quilting has the same effect for her. Scott has been developing that hobby for four years, and said she just gets lost in time when creating. So far, she?s made seven quilts ? three of which are almost king size and three are baby quilts.

Photos and Story by?Wendy Nugent

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