Local artist renews her love of stained glass

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Guttenberg native Julie Palmer showcases her stained glass at area Farmer's Markets and festivals. (Photo submitted)

By Caroline Rosacker

Stained glass was a popular design element in late Medieval and Romanesque art (c.1000-1400), before becoming an essential feature of Gothic style architecture. Modern glass art, which incorporates all forms of stained glass, including sculpture, stems from developments in America in the late 19th century. 

Julie Palmer stained glass artist 

Guttenberg native Julie Palmer was first introduced to stained glass art as a high school student under the direction of then art instructor George Killian. 

"I really enjoyed my initial experience working with stained glass as a novice," Julie told The Press. 

Although a fast-paced, demanding career kept Julie from pursuing stained glass, she remained interested and inspired through her aunt, Karen Velsor, of Rochester, Minn., who is a stained glass artist. "Through the years, I have always greatly admired Karen's work," she shared. 

Early retirement and a return to her roots created an opportunity for Julie to revisit her love of stained glass art. She is excited to be back in Guttenberg and living near her parents, Karla and Carson Palmer, but knew she would miss her busy lifestyle. "I have always juggled a demanding schedule, and I am used to living in a larger city, so I was looking for something that would appease my creative side and keep my hands busy," she explained.    

Julie's Aunt Karen was happy to share her knowledge. "Karen gave me a refresher course on technique, and helped me find high-quality, affordable glass vendors to purchase supplies," Julie commented. 

Cut, grind, foil, solder

Julie's lengthy process begins online searching for design ideas. "Once I find something that catches my eye, I sketch it out by hand on a piece of cardboard, cut it out, lay it on the glass, and trace out the design," she described. "The next step is to cut the glass, grind off the rough edges, foil each piece, solder them together, and embellish them with decorative elements if needed." 

In the beginning, Julie started with small projects, such as sun catchers, flower stakes, vases and chimes, but is now ready to tackle larger pieces.
"I showcase my glass at area Farmer's Markets and Festivals, and try to pay attention to what my customers like," she noted. "I work on my inventory during the winter, and with new ideas from customers I try to keep my projects new and fresh from year-to-year."

Each piece is packaged with artistic intention and includes items to hang the piece in a decorative box that can be shipped or delivered. "I like to package the item so it feels like the customer is receiving a gift from a close friend or loved one," she said with a smile. "I like to see the smile on people's faces knowing the effort is worthwhile."

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