Eric Brown

Rockford’s Eric Brown enters “Pandora” in ArtPrize

July 30, 2010 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL  The last vacation Rockford resident and stained glass artisan Eric Brown, owner of the Squire Street business by the same name, took was in 2000. Brown along with his wife, Pat, were visiting Alaska to fulfill a lifelong dream of discovering our 50th state first-hand. “While there I was struck by small trees growing and living in the hostile and rocky environment with their roots clinging tenaciously to the barren rock surfaces,” said Brown adding, “I had the thought that one day, if I could find the perfect rock, I would create a stained glass lamp, depicting a dwarf wind-swept bonsai like tree, using the rock as a base.” That day arrived in early 2010 when Eric came into the possession of an ideal rock, a beautiful 41 lb. piece of green fluorite quartz. In a labor of love requiring 216 hours (27 days in total) Eric created a one-of-a-kind stained glass table lamp that he calls, “Pandora”. Eric is a master of many artistic talents, all of which were required to bring “Pandora” to life. Beginning first with the base, it was necessary to drill a 7/16-inch hole through the center of the 1ft. x 1ft. rock, to accommodate a threaded rod to electrically wire the lamp. The boring of the quartz rock was no easy task as it contained many faults that could easily rupture. Eric had to adapt a diamond core bit by adding a long enough stainless steel shaft to drill completely through the rock. Exhibiting the skill of a diamond cutter he accomplished, what was to be, the first of many steps. Using graduated diameters of PVC pipe, Eric then formed the core of the tree’s trunk. He demonstrated his metal crafting skills by painstakingly winding hundreds of feet of copper wire, beginning with roots clinging to the rock and working upwards around the core to the very branches at the top. It was then necessary to add many pounds of molten solder to the wire creating a spiraled and gnarled tree-like surface. Brown then wired the lamp, adding lamp sockets to the tip of each of the five branches. It didn’t get any easier as Eric had to then move on to the creation […]

Rockford business scores big at prestigious art glass festival

April 20, 2010 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL The 19th annual Delphi Art Glass Festival, held recently in Lansing at Delphi’s warehouse and sales showroom, found Rockford’s Eric Brown’s Stained Glass Studio well represented. Of the 31 awards in 11 categories of stained glass creativity, Eric Brown and three of his Rockford students and one customer from Cadillac walked off with a grand total of seven ribbons (seven out of 31 isn’t bad!).   Delphi Art Glass annually holds this prestigious event that garners entries from all over the country. Delphi is the largest distributor of art glass and related stained glass supplies in Michigan. Brown, the consummate stained-glass artisan, took third place in the lampshade category and second place in the specialties category with a sandblasted in glass rendition of an art nouveau woman’s head. Accomplished Brown student, Allen Backstrom, took second place in the large panel category with a three-dimensional butterfly stained glass window. Capturing first, second and third places in the stepping stone category were Shirley Howe (first and third) and Reathal Waldron (second). Sherrie Smith of Cadillac, a regular Eric Brown Stained Glass customer, took third place in the mosaics category. All of the glass in her winning entry came from buckets of scrap stained glass she regularly purchases from Brown.   Seven years ago, Brown began sharing the skills of his craft to students enrolled in regularly scheduled weeknight classes. Indeed, your reporters are alumni of the first year’s graduates. Many of the students have become highly accomplished stained-glass artisans in their own right. Some have become so highly adept that they create, on order, commissioned works of art for others. Over the past seven years, Brown has unselfishly shared his knowledge and skills to literally hundreds of students. Eric Brown Stained Glass is not the only Rockford business to offer regularly scheduled instruction in their areas of expertise. Some, but not all, that come to mind are: • Herman’s Boy Inc.—hardwood charcoal grilling and cooking techniques • Red’s on the River—cooking school and wine classes • J.T. Stitchery & Frame Shop—knitting classes and clubs • Wise Photography—digital camera usage and photography techniques • Personal Chef Robin Toldo/DreamMaker Bath & Kitchens Design Center—cooking demonstrations and hands-on classes   The above are all highly […]

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 […]