Vol 7 No. 23 - February 28, 2007

Stepping out with stepping stones

Carol Surko and Anne Ricci grout their stones.

By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer

Glenn LeFevre’s students like his class in making stained glass, garden stepping stones so much that they keep coming back.

"The idea was to teach them once and then they’d go do it on their own," LeFevre said with a laugh. That’s not how it worked out. They keep coming back."

Students make the stepping stones in a two-day workshop held on a Monday and Wednesday and each workshop involves a different design.

"’I buy 16-inch round stepping stones and cut and grind all the pieces except for two or three," LeFevre explained. "Then I teach the students how to cut and grind the glass. They glue the glass to the stone with a special adhesive and the second day, they grout it.

"I cut the most of the glass pieces ahead of time because with 10 students and 50 pieces in a design, that could be 500 pieces of glass. I also pick the design for the class, but if they want to do something different, I charge $10 more."

Designs include animals, birds, flowers, a mermaid, and butterflies, each made in brightly colored stained glass.

LeFevre said when he retired to Florida after a career as a buyer for Montgomery Ward in New York and Chicago, he began with oil painting and moved onto pottery before discovering stained glass.

"I went to a demonstration and started working in stained glass. I put my pieces in a consignment shop and the owner said I should try making stepping stones. He showed me the ones he was buying and they were terrible. I started making them for the shop and they took off."

LeFevre said Community Center Administrative Assistant Sandee Pruett saw him selling the stones at the farmer’s market and asked him to teach a class. That was four years ago and he still makes and sells the stones for $55 each at the farmer’s market in downtown Bradenton on Saturdays.

“Anybody can do this," he maintained. ‘It’s a craft, not an art. If they want to do it at home, I provide a list of equipment and materials and where to buy them. For a couple hundred dollars, you can have everything you need. It’s a fairly clean hobby."

The next two-day workshop is being held March 12 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. and March 14 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. The design is the double dolphin. The fee for the workshop is $55 for members and $60 for non-members.

The class size is limited and the deadline to sign up is March 7. Calls Sandee at 778-1908 to register. The class is being held in the St. Bernard Church activity center, 248 S. Harbor Drive, Holmes Beach, while the new Community Center is under construction.

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