In Tucson Stained Glass, bright glass items hang from the ceiling. The front windows display stained glass projects previous students and artists have completed, no one similar to any other. There are birds, cacti, animals, flowers, and kitchenware. Shelves of multicolored glass plates line the store, flanked by glassmaking supplies and equipment. And in the rear, a kiln and many work tables are laid out, with people hard at work on their next stained glass projects. This is the store Estelle Flores has created.
“All the tools and equipment are here for people to work on their projects, and do whatever they need to do to get done,” she said.
The shop, located at 4444 E. Grant Road in Tucson’s Garden District, is involved in more than just the sale of stained glass. The store offers many classes, and even does out of shop work on buildings around Tucson.
“We have done some church restoration, many years ago we did four very large stained glass windows for Valencia Middle School, for their library,” Flores said. They have also worked on many homes in Tucson.
Flores has been interested in stained glass for decades, and the shop was born out of her passion.
“Stained glass I got into back in 1985, very haphazardly through some friends that I knew at the time,” Flores said. She took a free class and fell in love with the art.
She said she was unable to devote much of her time to stained glass until she started working at another shop in Tucson. Partnering with another stained glass shop owner who has since retired, they opened Tucson Stained Glass in 2005.
The classes the shop offers are intended to teach many levels of making stained glass. The shop even offers a free glass cutting class to get people started. “Within two hours, you’re gonna know all the nuances you need to know,” Flores said.
In the free class, students will learn about different methods of glass cutting, curves, how to plan patterns, as well as time saving techniques.
“Once you do that, go into whatever aspect of glass one wants to go into.” she said. “You are ready. You’ve got the fundamentals, and you’ve got the main arsenal of tools you need to do whatever else it is you want to do”.
Her son, Adrian Flores, learned the skill from her, and has learned a lot from being in the shop himself.