SEMINOLE, Ala. (WKRG) — It’s not the North Pole, but Suzanne Beard’s home in South Baldwin County is kind of like Santa’s Workshop. In her back yard inside a trailer she stores sheets of glass, supplies for Christmas magic she creates in her garage.
“I love being able to cut out different shapes and put them together,” said Beard. “I’m like making a puzzle, but, I’m like making it from scratch.”
Beard spends roughly six hours a day tracing patterns and scoring glass only to break it and then connect the pieces with a 410 degree soldering iron. The end result are beautifully crafted stained glass ornaments.
“That’s what inspires me is it looks so dark and just laying there but when you put it in the light, the beauty of it just comes through,” said Beard. “It is awesome.”
The light that shines through the glass speaks to her.
“It tells me what I want to make out of it,” added Beard. “I may not even have an idea for it, but I see it and I go, ‘that’s perfect’.”
Sometimes she sees faces of Santa Claus and Reindeer peeking through windows, nativity scenes, whimsical and traditional Christmas ornaments.
Middle Bay Stained Glass is her business, but her art is more personal to her and many of her customers.
“I hear a lot of the stories of why people are buying them,” said Beard. “Some are just buying them because they like a certain animal or bird, but a lot of them are dealing with death or something medical.”
Her bright red cardinals often hang on Christmas trees as a tribute to a loved one who’ve passed. She describes her work as both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.
“It’s an honor,” said Beard. “It’s a huge honor to be able to help them remember their loved ones.”
Beard said she thinks of the homes each piece will go to and it’s her wish whatever meaning it holds that finding the beauty will bring peace.
“I’m really glad that I learned how to do this and can give back something,” said Beard.