STAINED GLASS ARTIST

MADS | MAD GLASS GURL

Desert Mama- Who is Mads and where can we find her?

Mads- Hi I am Mads & I am a stained glass artist based in Southern California.

DM- How long have you been working with glass and when did the love for this art come about? Who taught you how to do this?

M- Since I was a little kid! My Papa actually started teaching me how to do stained glass when I was about 12. He was such a creative soul and had this incredible passion and talent for all different types of art forms. He was constantly diving into different hobbies and starting new projects.

When he finally retired around 65, he taught himself how to do stained glass & really threw himself into it. I grew up spending hours in the shop with him, helping him with whatever glass project he was working on, and learning everything I could from him.

When I was about 16 I made my first solo piece (with his help of course). It was this huge window install for my Mom’s kitchen, she still has it up to this day. My love for doing stained glass definitely came from my Papa. He spent his last few years of life spending time with me in the shop & teaching me everything he knew about glass. When I decided to really take the time to dive deeper into my craft and actually start my business, he was my #1 supporter.

My Papa is literally the reason Mad Glass Gurl is what it is today, and the reason this form of art means so much to me. 

DM- What inspires you, and what other artist currently working do you admire? 

M- Oh my… Too many to even name haha. Anything from old films, vintage, rock n roll, country music, psychedelic art, and my friends & fellow artists. There are so many artists I know or have met through social media over the years that are soooo talented and I admire so much.

Recently I’ve been really inspired by my friend Carly and her silversmith business (@cdj.silver). We have done a few collaborations and it’s just been really fun to create with my friends. Watching my friends and seeing the amazing things they create constantly motivates me to keep going when I hit a creative block or get down on myself.

DM- Do you sell your own designs, or do you work on particular orders if they want something specific too?

DM- Both! I create my own designs, launch collections, and sometimes when I’m feeling inspired, I’ll get a random idea and end up just making it come to life, but I also take on a lot of custom orders. I love working with a customer to help bring their vision to life.

This year I’ve been able to make some super rad and some super special custom pieces for a bunch of friends and customers. I also love when someone comes to me wanting me to make a gift for one of their friends or family members or significant others. It’s been so rad to be able to be a part of some super meaningful and memorable gifts.

DM- Show us your best work by now and tell us why you love it:

M- Hmmm. I’m not sure what I think my best piece is, but my favorite piece I’ve ever done was the “Screaming For Vengeance” Judas Priest album cover. 

It has over 110 tiny and intricate pieces and took me probably 12 hours total to create (not including the many days of just getting frustrated and putting it off haha). It was by far the most challenging piece I’ve ever done and I was really proud of myself for how it turned out. 

DM- The part you love the most of what you do, and the worst part:

M- The part I love the most is creating special pieces for people & being a part of so many meaningful gifts, moments and memories.

The hardest part is trying to figure out how to take a sketch or idea into pieces of glass. It’s kind of like a puzzle because I have to figure out the best way to break up an image and still have it look like the original concept once it’s soldered all together.

The worst part is just how many steps there are in the process and how long they take. From designing the pattern, tracing the pattern to glass, cutting each piece of glass, making sure I don’t lose any pieces of glass (lol), foiling everything, then soldering it all together-  It can be super tedious at times, but of course always worth it.

DM- Where and how would you like to see yourself 10 years from now?

M I hope to be able to continue with Mad Glass Gurl and turn it into my full time job/career. I want to make bigger customs and giant window installs and just have the opportunity to do wild and giant custom pieces.

I am actually really excited to announce that me and my friend (and now business partner) Annie (@hola_tonto_ceramics) are opening up a shop and community studio space in Oceanside, CA!! We will both run our businesses here, as well as offer lessons, workshops, and memberships. We are also going to have a retail space where local artists can showcase & sell their work, and we are hoping to have a ton of events too! There are so many talented artists, musicians, photographers and more in (or near) this town, and our goal is to get people together to celebrate and showcase it all. 

DM- Which is your best childhood memory? 

M- My favorite memory as a child were all of the times my dad would take us out to camp in the desert and ride dirt bikes!

DM- Your best quality and your worst defect: 

M-I would say my best quality is that I am a good friend and am willing to do anything for the people in my life.

My worst defect I would say is that I can be very hard on myself when it comes to this business but I’m a work in progress and gonna keep chuggin along! I’m also awful with my phone lol!

DM- How is a perfect day in your life?

M- My perfect day would be to wake up and start my day outside on a hike or working out, have a productive day finishing a glass project, bbqing at my house with my friends & roomates, going bowling and going to our favorite dive bar. We take bowling VERY seriously in this house. 

DM- A success and a failure:

M- A failure is that I dropped out of college studying photography (sorry mom and dad lol), but it actually ended up turning into my biggest success because it allowed me to monetize my passion for stained glass and turn it into a business. I feel really lucky to be able to do what I love and make money from it too. I’m so grateful for all the support I’ve received and for all of my customers for making this dream of mine a reality. 

RECOMMENDATIONS

– A phrase: Taken from my Grandpa Frank, “Cowboy up!” 

– A film: Smokey and the Bandit. 

– A song: A song that has been on repeat as of late, “Is It Any Wonder?” by Durand Jones & The Indications.

– A book: Get In The Van – Henry Rollins.

– A city: Venice.

WHAT DOES MADS PREFER?

  • Ten years in a coma / Ten years in jail
  • City life / Country life 
  • Talking to animals /  Talking to the dead
  • A good book / A good movie
  • Only being able to whisper / Only being able to scream
  • Lifetime free wifi / Lifetime free coffee
  • To sing in public / To dance in public (Wish I could dance lol)
  • Only eating salty food/ Only eating sweet food
  • Waking up in a desert / In a boat in the middle of the Ocean
  • Something organized / Something improvised
  • Visiting the past / Visiting the future
  • To be unable to see / To be unable to hear 
  • Reality / Fiction
  • Never leaving your city / Not being able to return
  • Continuing with your life / Restarting your life 
  • Knowing what you will die of / Knowing what day you will
  • Music concert / Theater play
  • Motorcycle trip / Car trip