Back in 1979, my parents moved to Northampton, MA from Long Island, NY. My mother had left her job as an art teacher at a parochial school and looked for similar work up here. All of the art positions were filled with what seemed to be lifers, so there most likely wouldn't be any more openings any time soon.


In 1980, my mother happened upon a place at the Pot Pourri Mall on King St. called Sunburst Glassworks, which sold stained glass materials and supplies, as well as taught classes for any aspiring hobbyist or artist.


What started as an interest and new skill, quickly turned into a career. She went from student to teacher and employee and the rest is nearly history.

She continued on this path through many changes. The owners of Sunburst moved the store to the armory building on king st and by the 1990s sold the business to one of their workers. Sunburst became The Glass Castle and moved to the minimall on Damon Rd, paired with a store in Somers, CT. There it stayed, even when it was sold once more, and unpaired from the Somers store, becoming The Glass Castle of Northampton.


During all that time, I arrived in 1984. My stained glass story, however, didn't start until 1989, when I was five. My mom introduced both my sister and I to her work and let us make our own stained glass items over the years. I took to it immediately, and over the years I honed my skills, picking out any patterns that sparked my interest. I made sure to try my hand at many types of things; mirrors, boxes, lamps, panels, and suncatchers. 


I loved it so much that I started bringing my best friend to join me in creating. In high school, it became my first job. Later in college, I took a 3D design class and resorted back to my stained glass roots on a project. I thought that perhaps after graduating if jobs on Long Island (yes, I went "back" there for school) I could fall back on a job at Glass Castle.


However, in 2006 the tides of stained glass were ebbing big time, and The Glass Castle of Northampton was no longer sustainable. It closed and my mother got a new job elsewhere, while I tried to make it in NY.


The economic climate when I graduated was not great and heading further into a decline, so in 2008, I moved back home and started working for the same company my mom did, Crossroads Jewelry in the warehouse of The Arts and Industry Building on Pine St., Florence.


She still had a lot of supplies when everyone from The Glass Castle split up the leftover stock to use in their personal, or privately professional studios and needed a place to keep it and hopefully work with it. Crossroads was a sister company to a woman's accessories business Rising Tide, LTD. and the owners of that business were looking for people to rent out sections of the back of the office. We accepted and had a place for a small studio.


Working full time meant neither of us had a lot of time to spend there, but sometimes if one wanted to work late and the other didn't, the studio was the refuge.


As I began to unpack all of our things, the pudgy blue pig I had made years before resurfaced.


He became my little inspiration to keep working.

He has since continued to do that. Even after I went to Grad School and came back. Even when Crossroads moved and we began working for Rising Tide. And especially when we had to move our studio into the warehouse. When my hours got cut, I spent my time in our little corner and there began the journey onto Etsy. 


When Rising Tide sold to a company in North Carolina, taking the stock but not the workers in 2019, we had a decision to make: give away all of our items and close up shop, put our stuff in storage, or find a studio space to continue our work. We took a chance and after a long and disheartening search, were very lucky to end up where we are today, in the same building we have known and loved for many years and part of such a great Artist and Artisan community.