SHELTON, Conn. — Michael Skrtic, owner of The Glass Source in Shelton, sees himself as part artist, part modern-day Sherlock Holmes.
The intricate glass restoration and preservation projects that make up most of his business mean intense hours — sometimes days — spent trying to understand each unique window, lampshade or panel before his work even begins.
“There’s a lot of detective work to it, trying to find out what they had done to create something 100 years ago,” he said. “I like the mystery of it.”
Skrtic likes almost everything about his career in glass, which he started 22 years ago when he was just 15 years old.
The teen apprenticed under master glass artist Mary Pillsbury, who owned the studio when he started. He learned the business end of things from Debbie Briether, who took over when Pillsbury died, just days before Skrtic left for classes at the Art Institute of Philadelphia and then Paier College of Art.
“I’ve learned so much in this studio,” he said, looking around the bright space in the Conti Building in downtown Shelton.
The Glass Source has grown into a full-service business, offering both restoration and repair work, as well as a small gallery filled with fanciful plates, bowls and decorative pieces that Skrtic creates.
“That’s the stuff that’s just for fun,” he said.
But it’s exacting work that can require several trips to the kiln and careful shaping of a delicate medium that Skrtic finds both challenging and rewarding.
“It gives a layer of depth that painting doesn’t give you,” he said.
Over the years, Skrtic has gained a reputation as a restoration expert. He’s well known for his masterful work with stained glass and leaded windows for Shelton’s Plumb Memorial Library, Yale University’s School of Law, and many churches and private residences in the region.
The shop also offers a full line of classes and workshops for those who would like to try their hand at cutting, grinding and firing their own creations.
“Stained glass is very popular,” said Skrtic, whose staff offers classes nearly every evening. “When the economy turns down a bit people take classes to do things themselves.”
The Glass Source is located at 415 Howe Ave. in Shelton. The studio is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. For more information on services and classes, visit the website.
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