Guelph artist gives stained glass a modern twist

Jessica Simmons is carving her own path in the centuries-old art form of stained glass.

The Guelph artist says the making items out of stained glass is not only a form of expression, but also a form of therapy.

“Just as stained glass progresses and different generations start making it, it starts to match the time period of when it was made,” said Simmons.

Her passion for glass started a few years ago after she took a workshop in Breslau. Simmons then opened her own store and workshop space in December of 2019.

“It’s really important that I’m able to teach people how to use my product and help them realize the potential of glass art,” she said.

Jennifer Hayston says she’s been hooked ever since her and her friend signed up for a sun catcher course in January.

While the pandemic forced Simmons to close up shop four months after she opened, she has made the pivot online and has commissions coming from all over North America.

One of her favourite pieces so far came from a family in Guelph who asked her to recreate a family portrait.

Simmons says that, no matter the size of the stained glass piece she’s creating, the process takes several steps and can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to complete.

“I love creating art because I find that it is a great expression of myself,” she said. “It’s comforting, it’s therapeutic.”

Chanel Fall also took one of the workshops and has taken what she learned to continue creating as a pandemic pastime.

“I work full time at my local hospital and I already had everything to make stained glass,” she said. “It was just a nice stress reliever to get out of the hospital and to come home and play with colours, cut glass, and make things.”