Billie Ruth SudduthBasketry is actually my second career. I spent almost twenty years as a school psychologist. It is appropriate that my...
I have always had a great appreciation for the Blue Ridge Mountains. I grew up here in the Asheville area, never really finding a reason good enough to want to leave. I have always been able to head outdoors and walk a trail ever since I can remember. The best days spent are hiking up to the ridge tops to see what the other side of the mountains has to offer. I so far have not been disappointed in my adventures.
I never really thought of becoming a stained glass artist. I had taken a few art classes in my younger days, but it seemed that I always ended up going in a different direction than what my teachers and instructors had intended.
I did however have an interest in the beautiful old stained glass church windows, probably staring more at them than listening to the Sunday sermons. I just wanted to understand how in the world these beautiful, colors were produced, and how are they were put together to create a window.
I made a new friend in the early 1980’s. He along with other talented folks gave me the chance to learn the many steps and techniques that were necessary to produce a small stained glass panel. I thought that I had finally arrived. The only problem was that the subject matter, birds, flowers, and other familiar patterns, didn’t seem to interest me too much. So… off to other interests; work, family, and living life.
Later in my years, during the late 1990’s I once again became interested in pursuing my interest of working with glass. This time I realized that I could make my own designs and patterns of mountain landscapes. I then found that I could choose my own glass, create metal overlays, and create what had been in my vision, of what I wanted my stained glass panels to represent. I became more and more interested in producing many, designs and patterns of what I had been so blessed to be surrounded by, these beautiful mountains and valleys.
The results are clear to me and to those many people that have followed me through my journey. I am a stained glass artist.
I have been self employed for the past 15 years building thousands of panels. I have been fortunate to have a very talented assistant for the past 11 years. My panels are available in 25 or so, galleries and craft shops throughout the southeast. I also do several commission panels for residential, and for several businesses, each year.
It’s a wonderful life when you finally find your talent in this world. I will continue to keep designing, building and marketing these panels for as long as the Good Lord will allow me to do so. I only wish that I could keep up the same pace that I had when I started this business. I guess I just started 30 years too late. I should have paid more attention to that little voice in my head, telling me it was OK to be an artist. Thanks again to all the good folks that have been a part of my journey, you know who you are. Bless each and every one of you!