Stained glass and woodworking give Alan Lenz of Perry the creative outlet he enjoys while making artistic works other people want to have in their own homes.
Sometimes the two creative materials go together, and sometimes they stand alone — it all depends on the ideas Lenz comes up with as he sketches his ideas on paper.
“I might not do a stained glass piece for a year, then I’ll do 12 pieces in a short time,” he says.
Even though Lenz sells his work, some through Mary Rose Collection in Perry, and has done commissioned work, he looks at his stained glass and woodworking projects as hobbies. His full-time job is as a production scheduler at Wiese Industries in Perry where he’s worked for 28 years. But on evenings or weekends, he is often found working on stained glass and wood projects in his garage.
He first learned to work with glass at Perry Paint and Glass (now Perry Paint and Design), where he was hired at 17 years old. He was there for a number of years and learned how to cut and work with glass. Later, he took a couple of stained glass classes from different people, then took off on his own with the art.
His woodworking came about when his mother, who worked in the office for a construction company, decided her son needed to know how to cut a board and work with wood. She helped him make his first piece, a box.
“I never really quit doing woodworking after that, although home ownership can bring more of that out in a person,” Lenz says. His woodworking expertise can be found around the house, from art frames to a grandfather clock and a quilt rack. Of course there are also stained glass pieces he’s made as well.
His wife, Kathy Lenz, says her husband’s work often is inspired by a need, whether it’s a place to display a quilt, or helping someone keep a damaged piece of stained glass that has meaning to them, or a decoration to add design and color to a window in a home.
Lenz says he’ll make stained glass pieces to give as wedding presents or for other special occasions. Occasionally he will mix wood and stained glass to create clocks or lamps.
“Often my inspiration is just something I’ve seen or something I want to see done in stained glass,” he says.
Lenz uses leading, stained glass and beveled glass to create intricate designs.
“The glass has a lot to do with how a piece turns out,” he says. “Each piece is a little different and takes on a life of its own.”
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