An engineer by occupation, Fred Wiegand has always had an interest in shop work as a hobby. In his retirement at Fox Run he has picked up a new hobby: stained glass window-making.
Wiegand spotted the hand tools and other supplies for stained glass during an early visit to the Fox Run hobby shop. He decided to sign up for beginner’s level stained glass instruction then and there. Five lessons and 15 hours later, Wiegand began making his own stained glass.
“I learned the basics, mostly painting the glass, and I started small,” Wiegand said. “With each new piece, I got a little bigger and more complicated.”
Wiegand started out, as do most stained-glass beginners, with pre-cut pieces of glass ready to be painted. He learned how to apply powder paint to the glass by mixing it with water and other chemicals by using an old-fashioned ink pen and tiny paint brushes.
The process takes a great deal of time and patience, according to Weigand. But it’s for a good cause – Wiegand gives all of his pieces to his children, grandchildren and one great grandchild. He recently completed a piece modeled after Disney’s Simba from “The Lion King” at the request of his great-granddaughter.
Back when Wiegand was first seriously getting into glassmaking, he approached his beginning-level instructors for help with designing a 99-piece glass display of a pine tree and the Northern Lights. His instructors in Brighton, a half-hour down the road from Fox Run, told him that he couldn’t do it, that he didn’t have the experience, that it would be too hard.
So Wiegand printed out a picture to use as a guide and went to work. He successfully completed the entire project, before bringing it back to his former instructors.
“I’m a competitive kind of person, Wiegand said. “They only want to prevent me from failing and getting discouraged, but I enjoyed the chance to really show them what I could do.”