Today we’d like to introduce you to Debbie Bean.
Debbie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My love of stained glass started early. I grew up with it in my childhood home. I designed my first panel when I was 10 years old for a window that needed to be replaced in our home. I took my first stained glass class when I was 16 and it planted the seed that leads to me becoming a full time stained glass artist today.
In 2014, I was burnt out in my career and looking for a creative outlet. I took a stained glass class to reconnect with my childhood hobby and it immediately took over my life. My husband built me a workbench in the small detached studio at our old house in Tujunga and I began spending every day in there, I taught myself how to do everything from creating lead panels to making mosaic coasters.
I pulled from all my previous work experiences to create my business. I am forever grateful to my background as a photographer as it has allowed me to photograph all my own work.
So much of what I do in the studio today is use glass to explore new ideas. As my business has grown, I have brought on help in my studio so that I can continue experimenting with different mediums and designs that further my creative vision for my business.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I wouldn’t say that it has been a smooth road. I have personally done every aspect of growing my business and it’s a lot for one person to take on. I have been fortunate, however, in that my business continues to grow every year and that people took an interest in what I am creating from its inception. I think my biggest struggle has been embracing the growth and bringing help into my studio. It was harder in the beginning for me to delegate tasks as I had a physically small space and as I was learning myself, there was a learning curve with teaching others.
A lot of the issues I encountered were typical growing pains. Everything I made went back into my business and figuring out how much inventory I would need kept increasing, so I always felt like I was falling behind. Now that I have been doing this for a few years, I feel more confident in the work I do and made the commitment to build up my inventory and it has been well received by both my online customers as well as my wholesale ones.
Please tell us about Debbie Bean.
I am a stained glass artist. I work in traditional leadwork and copper foiling as well as warm glass and mosaics. Geometric architectural elements influence my designs, resulting in colorful and unique handmade pieces.
I am probably most known for a rainbow panel that was featured on Instagram a few years ago. My work is easily recognizable because I use lead came and zinc instead of copper foiling for my smaller pieces which creates clean lines not generally found in other’s work.
I’m most proud of the fact that I am constantly challenging myself in the studio to use glass in different ways. My job as an artist is to explore new ideas. It’s why I create everything from holiday ornaments and trays to large-scale installations. I made the decision to retire my mosaic line because of how time intensive it is but that part of my business is something that really set me apart from other people in my field. More importantly, I still have people coming up to me to tell me my coasters and trivets are one of their most treasured items in their home. I have plans to bring that part of my business back in the future in a new and exciting way as my studio continues to grow.
A few years ago, I partnered with another company to debut a line of pillows that was very well received. This year, I am relaunching my line independently and they will be available on my website with an expanded home collection all based on my stained glass designs.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite childhood memory is when I came home from camp and my parents told me to go to the garage to get our dogs. I excitedly went over to the entrance from inside the house and when I opened the door our dogs greeted me. Suddenly, a small black puppy started to walk towards me into the house and I thought that a stray dog had gotten into our garage. I turned to tell my mom and was confused at first because she was smiling at me. She then told me that we had a new puppy!
He quickly became my constant companion and I was so happy to have another dog in our home. I have never been so overcome with joy as I was at that moment because it was completely unexpected. I think the only other times I was that happy was when we adopted our other dogs. I can’t think of anything that brings me more joy, even as an adult, than rescuing an animal.
- Small Triangles – $35.00
- Suncatchers – $60.00
- Trays – $55.00 – $75.00
- Panels – starting at $95.00
- Website: www.debbiebean.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @debbie.bean
- Facebook: @debbiebeanstudio
- Other: www.pinterest.com/debbie_bean
Portrait Photos – Michael Newsted www.michaelnewsted.us