In this weekâ€™s featured crafter, we talk to Matthew from Glasstastic. Read on to learn more about Matthew and how his love of quilting turned into glass making.
Greetings, Iâ€™m Matthew Skindzier, full-time dad, part-time; glass artist, quilter, knitter, photographer, and biker. I live in Pittsburgh, PA, with my wife, Robin, and kids, Francis(5), Theresa(4), and Susan(2). My handmade odyssey began at the age of 14 during the weekly â€œvocational trainingâ€ offered in 8th grade. I developed an affinity for the handmade, whether it was wood, metal, or fabric.
My work can be found at www.glasstastic.etsy.com as well as at craft shows around Pittsburgh. Custom inquiries are welcome at glasstastic [!at] hotmail.com. I love custom work because it allows me to involve the customer in the process, and give direction to my creative energy.
My quilting began during Christmas 2000. At this time I was unemployed, engaged, and living in Kentucky. Falling back on my handmade abilities, I decided to try making a quilt as an affordable functional present. I cleaned and oiled my fianceâ€™s sewing machine (her grandmotherâ€™s that had not been used in 20+ years). Using a square candle as a measuring device, and a board as a straight edge, under cover of darkness I began my first quilt. It was such a hit. I started planning the next one right away. Christmas tradition now requires a quilt under the tree.
Based on the enthusiasm of my family I decided to produce some quilts to sell in 2007. My desire to sell my quilts died with my mother in August 2007. She died of brain cancer and was buried with a lap quilt I had made for her. It featured squares representing quilts I had made for her grandchildren and my father.
I had decided to take an indefinite break from quilting when a new direction arrived in the form of glass. While shopping with my family, I came across a flyer for an open house/free demo at the â€œSchoolhouse Arts Centerâ€ in Bethel Park near my home. They offered several classes including stained glass. I attended the demo and signed up. Since then I have taken several glass classes with people from the small enthusiastic group that attended the initial demo. I have created a great variety of stained glass, from small sun catchers, to leaded exterior windows, lamps and more.
Creatively, my brain is always processing information. Some nights I lay awake thinking about a pattern, or color, or design. Some days I get overwhelmed to the point of inactivity. Where I have so many things I want to do I canâ€™t decide, and the decision process itself eats up what little time I have to work. Conversely, when I do get going, I go all out, working several projects at the same time. Organized chaos. Sometimes getting that spark to ignite that explosion is tough though. That is where custom orders are a godsend. Working with someone to get to their desired outcome gives me a direction, strikes a spark, and off I go.
As people found out I was working with glass, I started to receive requests. Eventually I received enough requests that I decided maybe my work WAS good enough to sell. A coworker had told me about Etsy a year before, so I decided to look into it. They provided a low stress friendly environment, perfect for an aspiring crafts person. But, being a high touch, touchy feely kind of guy I felt the need for a hands on, face to face marketplace as well. I attended my first craft show in December 2008, and had a blast. I have booked my first show for 2009 and am looking forward to several more.