JoAnn Johnston

I lived in a small university town in south central Pennsylvania for 20 years. It was there that I discovered my love for stained glass. I admired all the beautiful stained glass windows in the old Victorian homes and churches. It is so beautiful and amazing how the sunlight transfers clear light through the glass panels and creates a kaleidoscope of patterns across its path.

I had an opportunity to apprentice under an amazing stained glass artist. His father worked in the Louis Comfort Tiffany Studios in New York City in the late 1800’s. I learned the craft and fell in love with it and I knew that this was an art form I wanted to pursue. It became a passion. At the time, I also owned a shop called East Meets West. I had a big enough space in the back of the store where I could set up a studio. I made smaller pieces for sale in the store. And then I started to be commissioned to do custom work; creating large panels, windows, and cabinet doors. Some of the stained glass designs I created were one of kind. I drew up the pattern especially for the customer, with their color scheme and design in mind. Some pieces I made from a premade pattern incorporating my own color scheme. Over that 20 year span I built a portfolio of one of a kind designs.  I loved working with the customers and creating a beautiful and timeless art piece that they could hang in their home and enjoy for years to come.

In 1997 I relocated to North Carolina. I opened a retail shop in Calabash called The Blue Heron Gallery. I was able to set up my stained glass studio there and continued to create stained glass pieces. I made windows for homes on the beaches and also panels that were created to hang freely.

In 2000, I moved the business to Sunset Beach NC. The new location did not allow me to have the space for a studio. So my ability to create stained glass was put on hold. I never let go of my dream to continue making glass. In 2019 I closed The Blue Heron Gallery and retired.

Now I am able to pick up my passion for creating stained glass art pieces. An art form that I so love.

I enjoy working with lead came the most. This is the medium I used in the past and still prefer to use to this day. I also work with copper foil as it lends a lighter and more delicate look for today’s styles. When fabricating a more traditional design, I prefer to use lead came.

I hope you enjoy the magic of light and color as much as I do.