Question: What do two medically-employed professionals and the creators of lighted glass blocks and other glass items sold at Delaware art shows and craft fairs, and on the internet, have in common?
The answer: Both Lynn Misener of Rehoboth Beach, who recently retired after more than 36 years of service in computer-related work at Beebe Healthcare, and Dr. Michael Elrod, a Lewes chiropractor, create decorative lighted blocks and other glassware items in their spare time.
The two artists say there’s no connection between their medical professions and the artwork they now do. “I do think that stress, the kind you have in any job, is a factor in why I was drawn to the art-related hobby which became a business sideline,” said Misener. She now has a full-time job in retirement, as a senior project manager with the Delaware Health Information Network.
Both artists say, although they love the artwork that they do, they can’t give up their medical work for economic reasons. It just doesn’t pay all the bills. But, in the relatively short period of time they’ve worked in artistic pursuits, they’ve both expanded what they do.
Misener began her hand-painted glass artwork four years ago when she had some cheap wine glasses leftover from a senior prom party she gave for her son Brian. “It was Christmas time,” she said, “and I went out and got some paint. In addition to the glasses, I painted plates.” The guests at her Christmas dinner loved what she had done. “I was hooked,” she said.
Amazingly, neither Misener or Elrod has ever had training in art. They create all their own designs. And, they credit the internet for much of the help along the way that they have received.
Now, Misener has a full line of hand-painted glassware: glasses and bottles. (Her husband Keith drills holes in the bottom of bottles so that she can insert a string of lights.). She also does plates and lighted glass craft blocks that sell for $20 at shows.
Other family members such as her daughter Erica, mother Suzanne Baird and mother-in-law Anna Misener help with her glass work and trips to shows. “I couldn’t do it without them,” Misener said.
Elrod started his artwork hobby three years ago by doing stained glass work. He has a stained glass depiction of the human spine in his office/workplace that he did after seeing one online selling for $700.
Early on, Elrod shopped for supplies at “Back Bay Art Glass” on New Road in Lewes. “I went online and found them,” he said. “I’m glad they are here.” Misener gets much of her supplies from a hobby shop in Salisbury, Md.
Like Misener, Elrod now does a variety of glass-related items such as bottles and glasses plus other pieces. “Through craigslist, I bought a pallet of glass blocks to be recycled,” he said. “I made holes in them and sand blasted them to give them the frosted look.” Misener has also found resources and a place to sell her work on the internet.
Elrod bought a sophisticated vinyl cutter two years ago. With it he is able to cut out the designs he creates in very thin vinyl and then apply them to the glass blocks and other glass items.
He got started with his glass block work after he received a request from a Delaware State Trooper and patient Burt Murray, now retired. Murray ordered a state trooper glass block with a special design on it. “I’ve sold 75 of them so far,” said Elrod. He now does custom monogram glass blocks for businesses and for weddings, anniversaries and various gift occasions.
Elrod’s wife, Mary Lou, is a real estate agent, and she gives personalized blocks to co-workers. Elrod’s patients give them to family and friends. (He has a special display of the lighted glass blocks in his Lewes office waiting room.)
Locally, Elrod took his work to the new VIA Seaside Art Show in Rehoboth Beach in May. And Misener took her work to the October Christmas Shop at Convention Hall in Rehoboth Beach. “It was great,” she reports. Other shows that she has done are those at the Dover Agricultural Museum, DE Wine and Beer Festival, the Dover Days Festival, and a craft show of the Dover (Air Force) Officers Spouse Club, and others.
For more information on the glass work done by Misener, call 302-236-1842 or go to www.etsy.com/shop/1ststatesassyglass. For more information on the glass work done by Elrod, call 302-645-9171 or go to www.KraftyMcKrafty.com.