Kremmling: Stained glass inspired by the pre-Civil War techniques
Art is a big part of life for Kremmling resident Brenda Helton. I cant not do it. It drives me crazy, she said. I have a workshop right off the kitchen and Im in either one or the other.Stained glass by the artist has won her several top designations at the Middle Park Fair and Rodeo art contest and show during the past three years. Two of Heltons Victorian-style stained glass pieces and one of a rose pattern won her First Place, Grand Champion, and overall Grand Champion awards 2005-2007. She is on her last step for this years promising entry, entitled Eagle in Flight.Its a joy a relaxing, calming joy, she said. I catch myself getting lost in it. Its beautiful.With top awards and several successful art fairs and festivals under her belt the full-time Los Amigos waitress said she is ready to do it full time. She participated in this years Grand Lake Fine Arts & Crafts Festival last weekend and is set to showcase her work at the Farmers and Crafts markets in Vail Sundays throughout the summer. She loves getting to know all the people and said The art shows take care of the gypsy in me.Helton has been perfecting her technique for 10 years. While living in Texas she applied for an apprentice position with The Glass Journey owners Robert and Peggy Journey. She said they knew after just about 10 minutes that they had found a perfect fit with Helton. With careful creative instruction, they instilled in her attention to perfection, detail, and construction, construction, construction, Helton said Robert, an old hippie, would say regularly. She worked for them for two years.Since then Helton estimates she has completed about 100 pieces a year, with much of her success starting with churches in Mississippi and Tennessee. The work varies, with special preference to Victorian, Native American, wildlife and scenic work. Most highlight bright colors with cherry red and blues as her favorites. She also is inspired by the pre-Civil War techniques used and has ventured to Alabama to study them.Helton said she is also tickled with people ordering custom pieces. She works will all kinds of glass, including Victorian, granite with one rough side, prism and beveled. She is able to create work for doors, entryways, bathroom elements, and just about any other home decor that she just hasnt thought of yet. Most of the Victorian patterns Helton has designed herself and she hand cuts all of the glass for the work. Her stained glass art takes two days to a week to complete, with prices starting at $100. Average size is 18×24 (standard window size) with some reaching up to three feet by four feet.As Helton begins to build her art as a full-time business, she said she hopes to establish a Web site down the line, as well as pass her talent down. One of her three sons (Jeremiah, Nathan McBride, and the youngest, Daniel, who will be a sophomore at West Grand High School) usually helps her set up her art show tent and Jeremiahs daughter Fay Marie has shown a great interest in learning the skill from her grandma.Shes envisioning several other projects for the future, including a merry-go-round inspired by the historical one at Elitch Gardens in Denver. Shes also working on a pattern for a calla lily work and says people are encouraged to drop by her home workshop at River Ranch Village, where she usually has about 30 pieces on display. I have a storage issue, she admitted playfully, so all my windows are full.Samples of her work, each with its own colorful story to tell, may be viewed at Los Amigos Restaurant and at The Fishing Hole, both in Kremmling. To schedule a tour or consignment appointment, call her at (970) 724-1261.
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