Eric Brown Stained Glass

Rockford artist celebrates 20th year

October 1, 2009 // 0 Comments

When Eric Brown got sick of his regular job and quit 20 years ago, he knew he had to do something. “I never did think I could make a living at it, it just happened,” Brown said. Brown own’s Eric Brown Stained Glass at 33 Courtland Street in downtown Rockford. He is the fifth owner of a stained glass business at that location and October 1 marks the milestone of 20 years in business. “There are maybe a half dozen who have been here longer than me, so I think that’s pretty good,” he commented. Brown said he guesses he’s become one of the “old timers”in Rockford, along with J.T. Stitchery & Frame Shop, Reading Books, the Candle Shop of Rockford, Herman’s Boy, Great Northern Trading Company and Baskets in the Belfry. Brown fell into stained glass as a hobby as a 13-year-old. His older brother was interested in stained glass and decided to make a 400-piece Tiffany lamp. He quit after 20 pieces and Eric took over the project. Brown said he could never part with that first project, not out of affection, but because it really isn’t that good. “It was alright for my skill level at that time,” he said. He followed the lamp with more modest projects and over the years became a self-taught master in his craft. Now the two-story shop that was built after razing the former structure on the site glitters with examples of Brown’s work. “I’m pretty proud of the fact that almost nothing here is made in China, “ he remarked. At one time Rockford was known for the many resident artists. Now Brown is one of very few that create his products himself. “There is me, the Charnleys at Burlap ‘n Rags and Brien Dews at the clock shop,” he said. He remembers when Rockford supported a glass blower, wood worker, weaver, wood carver and more. It may not be easy, but for Brown, it is possible to support yourself as an artist. Along with the stained glass classes he teaches nights, the store is his livelihood. “I’ve seen a lot of them go in and out of business over the years,” Brown said. He attributes his success to hard work, being punctual, affordable and […]