Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Couple's Work Is Creating Art Making Glassworks Started as a Hobby

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Couple's Work Is Creating Art Making Glassworks Started as a Hobby

Article excerpt

Byline: Kandace Lankford, Staff writer

Sheets of colored glass and projects in progress fill the Mandarin studio where Jim and Judi Williamson create custom-ordered works of art.

The product of their painstaking labor is displayed in the studio windows, where rays of sunshine send kaleidoscopes of color through their stained glass creations.

For more than two decades, the Williamsons, who recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary, have worked together to create and install stained glass windows, bevels, panels, cabinet inserts and other stained glass items.

Their business, The Art of Glassworks, was born in 1982 when Judi, a stay-at-home mom, took some classes because she wanted to make something special for the new home they were planning to build. Though they ended up not building the home, through Judi's artistic endeavor they built an enterprising business.

"It started as a hobby and grew from there," she said. "We finally got studio space because it was taking over our house."

For the first several years, Jim worked full time at another job and assisted Judi with projects as needed. But when he retired from his job, he joined Judi in the studio and the two became a full-fledged team.

The blue jeans-clad couple work at long wooden tables covered with tools of the trade. While Judi cut pieces of dainty-looking glass with concave pliers, Jim spread a pumice-like powder over a pane.

"This is an abrasive, kind of like Comet," he explained. "It will smooth the glass and give it a streak-free shine."

The two carried on a conversation punctuated with smiles and laughter while they worked, often finishing one another's sentences. "My wife is still training me," Williamson said. "She has been for 25 years now."

Pliers in hand, Judi padded across the spongy carpet and proudly pointed to a wall plastered with a collage of photographs. A black-and-white head shot of a handsome, smiling young man was surrounded by pictures of him doing what Judi says he does best -- singing, dancing and acting.

"That's my son, Joey," she said. "He is a performer."

As she talked about her 23-year-old son, Judi turned the pages of a photo album with her Band-Aid covered thumb, from which she had just removed a sliver of glass. …

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