Stained glass crafting is making a comeback, and you can take classes in North Texas

If you’ve looked at a huge stained glass window, it might be hard to imagine you could make something like that yourself. But stained glass crafting is hot now, thanks in part to TikTok.

By Galilee Abdullah, KERAJanuary 17, 2023 10:30 am, ,

From KERA:

We all grew up hearing: be careful, don’t break the glass.

But you can get over that, said David Kittrell.

“There are several voices that are in your head telling you, don’t mess with the glass, you’ll break it.”

Kittrell is part owner of Kittrell Riffkind, a stained glass company with a studio in Richardson and a gallery in North Dallas.

Galilee Abdullah / KERA

David Kittrell holding some of glass he has been repairing at Kittrell Riffkind in Richardson.

“You have to get past those barriers, those little things. And then, OK, I’m gonna break glass. And then it breaks and you’re going, oh my God, and then it breaks wrong and you go, oh my God. We deal in highs and we deal in lows.”

Kittrell also teaches classes, and he says he’s noticed more people expressing interest in the art.

“Our classes are filling up and what’s neat is that it’s not people that are looking for a retirement hobby. Some of them are new to their careers, or they’re just established enough that they can see that they have a hole in their week that they can fill with something that they enjoy.”

Diane Flynn holding a stained glass piece in the Creative Arts Center studio where she teaches glass classes.
Galilee Abdullah / KERA

Diane Flynn got into stained glass in the ’70s. There was no TikTok back then. She learned about the craft from a magazine.

“And it had a little tiny pattern in it and it showed how to do it, and told about it, and had some beautiful pictures, I thought, I’m gonna try this, so I did.”

Today, she teaches at the Creative Arts Center in East Dallas.

That’s where Emma Ahmad found her. Ahmad is 25 and lives in Dallas. She took one of Flynn’s six-week stained glass workshops. She said she’s hooked. It’s different from other art disciplines she’s studied.

“I felt like it was a lot more hardcore, like there was a lot more glass breaking and shattering and it was kinda dangerous but I really liked that aspect and like my fingers got super calloused from grinding the glass and doing that, and I was sore from doing it a little bit too, which was exciting cause it almost felt like this empowering kinda workout, but then I was also creating something.”

Galilee Abdullah / KERA

Emma Ahmad made this peony suncatcher in one of Diane Flynn's stained glass workshops. She says she gave it to her parents as a gift.

Ahmad said social media videos led her to find the class.

“I just appreciate how TikTok and Instagram is kind of opening up these doors for people to like learn about crafts,” she said. “‘Cause I don’t really think if I hadn’t seen those videos it would have stood out to me when I was looking at classes.”

She says seeing videos of modern contemporary stained glass pieces of things like cartoon characters and mushrooms really intrigues her. Ahmad plans to take Diane Flynn’s next class in the spring. I think seeing a piece in copper foil is my favourite part of the process. Its the first time i really get to see what it looks like #stainedglass #smallbuisness #etsyuk #mew #pokemon #pokemon150 ♬ Fallen Down (Reprise) - Piano Slowed & Reverb - Augustin Garnier

As for Flynn, she said one of the things she really loves about stained glass is how it changes with light.

“Glass has a reflective quality that is beautiful, and yet glass has a transmitted light as well, so you can see through the glass, and you can see all the beautiful colors,” she said. “But at night, if there’s no light behind it, then you have to realize that you have to rely on the transmitted light that might be on it… stained glass has a life of its own.”

Flynn said after over 40 years with the craft, she’s still so passionate about glass art.

And with apps like TikTok introducing stained glass to new people, teachers like her and Kittrell hope to pass the craft onto new generations.

Here are a few places in North Texas where you can buy glass art, and take classes to learn how to make some yourself:

1. SiNaCa Studios, Fort Worth
2. Creative Arts Center of Dallas
3. Stained Glass Unlimited, The Colony
4. Kittrell Riffkind, Richardson
5. Art Glass City, Lewisville

If you found the reporting above valuable, please consider making a donation here. Your gift helps pay for everything you find on and KERA. Thanks for donating today.