Thursday, February 19, 2009

Colleen from Iowa Etsy Team

I was poking around in the Etsy team forums the other day and found a fellow member of the Iowa Etsy Team. Her name is Colleen and her shop is Five Sparrows. She's got some really cute things made out of stained glass, which is something I have always loved. We got to talking and I found out some fascinating things about her and her shop. It's always interesting to hear how other shop owners got their start and here is her story.

“When I was in college I got this wonderful summer job at a conference center in Green Lake, WI. In two weeks they gave me a crash course in stained glass, and then the rest of the summer I taught it to anyone staying on-site who came in wanting to learn. It was such a great job. I got to be artistic all day while helping others feel good about creating something. And there were windows with a view of the lake. I did that job for three summers. By then I was hooked and kept making stained glass on my own. So I have been doing this off and on for about 12 years, mainly for family gifts, but this is my big venture into the business world.”

Colleen is a stay at home mother of 3 kids “and one slow, patient basset hound” as she put it. “I love it both for being with the kids and the freedom from the 9 to 5. My problem lately is that it is so much easier to sit by a window with some coffee and draw out patterns, than it is to go down in the basement and actually cut and grind. (Yeah, it is a basement office for me now; not great on lighting, but it keeps glass and hot solder away from small fingers.) So, beyond sitting by the window and drawing, I try to fit in some glass time during naps and after bedtimes.”

When asked about her inspiration she said, “Anything and everything. I just go with what seems appealing to me at that moment. I am constantly looking at pictures or scenes to think how I could split it up into shapes that would work with glass. I like the quirky and the non-conventional, but I also love the tradition and history found in the rural town community I live in. I am having fun exploring the 3 dimensional idea lately. I think creating something new is always exciting to me though, so any new design is always something I look forward to making.”

Of course, everyone needs a vacation sometime, so where would Colleen be if she wasn't working with glass? “Camping with the family in the mountains. We aren't too far from the Black Hills, that is one of our favorite places to go. And I love Wall Drug.” Rock on Colleen, Rock on.

If you would like to follow up to the minute updates of what Colleen is doing now, follow her on Twitter at She admits she is new to Twitter, but hopes to get the hang of it really soon, so let's help her out and make it fun!


Launi said...

These stained glass pieces are beautiful! I especially love the ballerina from her shop. It's now on my wish list.
Thanks for doing this.

Lizet Frijters said...

This work is just stunning!