It's been a winding road for glass artist Connie Beckers, who opened Goddess of Glass last June. As a former executive director of the Northside Arts Collective (NAC), Beckers is passionate about providing opportunities for artists in the area. Faced with financial difficulties, the NAC let Beckers go in 2009. Last year, she was able to get a loan from a friend to open up a glass store where she provides an outlet for north-side artists to sell their work, in addition to exhibiting her own pieces and teaching classes.
The Goddess of Glass is the only store of its kind in the area. It features work by all local artists, mostly from the north side. Beckers runs her shop by consignment, rotating out pieces that don't sell. She currently has work by 55 artists, including jewelry, glass wear, functional items, and sculptural pieces. Customers can browse through everything from picture frames, lamps, windows, business card holders, trinkets, and more. All of the art in the store is handmade by the artists. "I look for unique things," Becker says. For example, she's currently showing work by an artist who makes handmade leather bags, and dyed silk scarves that are also painted.
Though the store Goddess of Glass has been open since June, Beckers began making glass art long before that. She's been handcrafting stained glass artwork in the Tiffany--also known as the copper foil method--since 1995. She took her first glass class through Patrick Henry Community Ed., and started teaching there about 10 years ago. Her works are composed of shards of glass and highlighted with decorative soldering. In 2005, she added a kiln to her studio to be used to create fused glass jewelry and dishware. Currently she teaches beginning stained glass in the Tiffany tradition and offers glass-fusing workshops in her basement studio.
Though Beckers has worked as an arts administrator and a storeowner, at heart she's an artist. Yet she knows it is difficult to put food on the table just making art. "As artists, we have to expand our work from simply creating art in order to make ends meet," she says. "We consult, we do design work, we open a shop, and sometimes we take jobs that aren't related to our art making."
In addition to the store and classes, the Goddess of Glass also holds special events and receptions for artists. For example, on February 24 they'll host a reception for Lawrence Miller, who juxtaposes photography and painting. The reception takes place from 6 to 8 p.m.
The Goddess of Glass is located at 2205 Lowry Avenue North in Minneapolis. See goddessofglass.com for more details.