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Stained glass artists open new business, classroom space in downtown Presque Isle

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Stained glass enthusiasts will have a designated space to practice their craft thanks to the new business Glass With Class, LLC on Main Street.

Lisa Wark of Mapleton has taught stained glass courses for the SAD 1 and SAD 32 Adult Education programs for the past two years and has gained many devoted students who have taken up the art as a hobby. When she suggested to her longtime students, mother-and-daughter pair Martha Frank and Christa Judkins, that the three of them open their own business, the friends leapt at the opportunity.

Glass With Class officially opens for business with an open house at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 1.

The business will sell materials and supplies for making stained glass, offer classes and special workshops and provide space for individual crafters to work on their own projects.

They will also take custom orders of stained glass pieces that the store owners and Wark’s students have created, and feature a County Crafters Corner to sell artwork from local crafters and artists.

Every month Glass With Class will take part in the First Friday Downtown Art Walk and showcase one local artist. On Friday, June 7, the business will display the watercolor paintings of Presque Isle-based artist Lorie Bonville Smith.

“It’s always good to support the artists in our community and so we want to provide space for others to do work here or to showcase work,” Wark said.

Wark has numerous classes and workshops lined up, including a five-week beginner’s stained glass course starting on Monday, June 17, and a bees and ladybugs-themed Sip and Solder workshop, both of which are sold out already.

Other workshops coming up include a flags and garden snakes-themed Sip and Solder on June 22, a Wine Windchime workshop on July 13 and a Wildlife Wednesday workshop on July 17. A complete listing of courses and information can be found on the Glass With Class Facebook page.

Folks can register for classes and workshops in person at the shop, through the Facebook page or by emailing Judkins at christajudkinsgwc@yahoo.com. From June through November, Glass With Class will be open from 4 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Wark plans to leave her current position as an executive assistant for the Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce in December to focus on managing the business full time.

Wark learned to make stained glass objects from artist Russ Gagnon at SAD 1’s Adult and Community Education program three years ago and later became the teacher for those courses. She noted that stained glass offers a fun, relaxing activity and a chance for people to create a variety of crafts such as windchimes, sun catchers, lamps, jewelry boxes, crib mobiles and windows.

Judkins took her first stained glass course from Wark two years ago and “fell in love” with the craft. She looks forward to teaching classes and exposing community members to an older but still enjoyable craft activity.

“When she [Wark] expressed interest in starting a business like this, I immediately wanted to be part of it,” Judkins said. “There’s nothing like breaking a piece of glass and turning it into something pretty.”

Glass With Class is located at 499 Main St. in Presque Isle.

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