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Justin Atkin Will Demonstrate How to Create Stained Glass

Justin Atkin’s journey as a stained-glass artist started at his family’s church, Mount Bethel Baptist in Belton. In the sanctuary loomed a huge stained-glass window depicting Jesus holding a lamb. “I looked at it and looked at it,” he remembers.

Step two was spotting a sign on a metal building while he was driving to Due West. The sign offered classes from a professional stained-glass artist. He not only learned from her but has since helped her with installations. “I’m liked her adopted grandson,” he said.

Today, when he’s not working as the facilities manager at the Career and Technology Center for Anderson School Districts I and II, Atkin enjoys his particular brand of art, which he admits is not for everyone. “I’ve always worked with my hands, and I’m a hard worker,” he said. “Stained glass is very tedious. It takes a lot of time and effort and a lot of patience. But you feel like you’ve accomplished something unique.”

His process is to design a pattern—often hand drawn and featuring everything from nature scenes to abstracts. Then he cuts the glass to match the pattern. Next, he grinds the glass. Then there are various techniques he chooses from: copper foil, leaded glass, fused glass. For copper foil, he wraps each piece of glass with adhesive copper foil, then solders it together.

Besides repairing church stained-glass windows—a fitting future task for that little boy entranced by the picture of Jesus—most of the work he does now is through custom order. No advertising is needed. “It’s all word of mouth,” he said. “Living in a small town, people find you.”

Justin Atkin will demonstrate the copper foil method of stained-glass artistry at the next meeting of the Anderson Artists Guild on Monday, March 14, at 6:30 p.m. in the downstairs classroom at the Anderson Arts Center.


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