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Breaking that glass ceiling

the glass lady Becky Mitchell has turned her craft of 16 years ago into a thriving art business in the Lakes area. She has now opened up a store-front studio at 403 Lake Avenue in Lake Park where she will hold classes and sell glass art supplies.1 / 2
big projects like this one for Eksjo Lutheran Church are becoming more common for the Glass Lady, making a bigger studio necessary to keep up with demand.2 / 2

She's known around town as "The Glass Lady," with her striking glass art being showcased in places like the Holmes Theater, the Oak Crossing Chapel and the Fargo Public Library.

Now Becky Mitchell is taking her talents to the next level.

Mitchell has just opened her own studio in Lake Park at 403 Lake Avenue.

"This is going to give me space to do some big projects," said Mitchell, who also teaches some glass art classes through the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center.

An art grant provided by the state also allows her to go into 11 area schools to teach her glass art to young, budding artists.

Mitchell's full-time job is box office manager at the Holmes Theater, but being "out and about" with her hobby has been enough of a marketing tool to generate demand for Mitchell's artistic talents, opening up more commission work for her.

The sparkling mosaic and stained glass so beautifully put together by Mitchell is capturing more than just appreciation for her art -- it's getting more people curious about what they could do.

"People kept asking me about more classes, more classes," laughed Mitchell.

So, the freshly-opened studio will also be a place where Mitchell can hold classes and sell materials to up-and-coming glass artists who have possibly been inspired by Mitchell herself.

"It starts with a curiosity," Mitchell says of the art's growing popularity."

"It's a very old craft --a very old technique that goes way back, so I think the fact that you can make something so pretty in a window or around your house, and the results can be so striking, people like that."

She says novice glass artists often progress like she did -- starting with strict patterns and then moving on to become more personally creative.

"Over the past 16 years I've been doing this, the creative part of me is coming out -- the more abstract part of me that wasn't really there before," said Mitchell, "But now I use the metals, the beads ... combining different elements into glasswork."

Mitchell will open her doors to the public on Tuesday nights at first, with plans to add additional days during the winter weekends.

"And the thing is, anybody can do it," she said. '"I never considered myself an artist growing up. I'm not the greatest drawer, and I can't paint -- but I was always crafty."

And now, as Mitchell crafts her art into a business, she is already opening up to the idea of expanding it.

"I've recently realized that there is a real desire for things like birthday parties or ladies nights out," said Mitchell, "And I don't necessarily have to do a glass project, but I can open the studio up for lots of different types of crafty classes."

Mitchell has already hosted the annual Lakes Region Arts Council banquet at her new store, which saw arts representatives from nine area counties.

She will also be holding a grand opening on Thursday August 11 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

"I'll have class signup sheets, do some door prizes, have some goodies and just mostly feel out what people are looking for -- what kind of classes they'd like to see," said Mitchell.

To find out more on the Glass Lady, find her on Facebook, check out her website at www.glasslady.com or call her at 218-234-8844.

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