Little did art teacher and OHS coach Jack Poynter realize that one simple artistic design would spark such a keen interest in stained glass. Jack designed a piece for his family’s game room, which immediately attracted the interest of his card buddies and initiated construction of pieces for others. Word spread, and soon he began working exclusively in stained glass. “He thought, ‘Hey, this is my niche,’” his son Scott said. That interest and legacy continues today in Scott, who carries forward The Glass Factory, which originated with his dad in 1978—now located in a strip mall on Highway 54 near Thoroughbred East. His sister Lori also works there.
Scott learned the skill of creating stained glass by working alongside his dad. As a youngster, he tagged along in the afternoons when his dad had to grade papers at school. He quickly learned about many aspects of art from being in his dad’s art classroom, which he aptly described as “a kid’s playground—crayons, chalk, clay, paint, pottery— so I was doing that from probably about the time I could walk…I was blessed with my dad’s talent…I’ve always been drawn to it.”
The teaching carries forward, too. Beginners actually use copper foil in their designs, which is more challenging than using lead. “My goal is to get them addicted (to stained glass),” Scott said with a chuckle.
Working in stained glass has its challenges. “The biggest challenge is the customer landing on a design and colors!” exclaimed Scott. A standard stained glass project takes two-three weeks, but some major projects like Eaton Memorial Church are anything but standard. He designed and constructed seven 11-foot panels for the church, a year-long venture. About 98 percent of his projects are commissioned.
Scott said that “seeing the finished product, seeing the happiness in people’s faces…that’s what keeps me going.” He admitted that he can become quite emotional about it and finds satisfaction in “knowing that when I’m long gone, that’s going to be there.”
Scott spontaneously describes his business as “CRAZY—unique to say the least.” It’s ever so obvious that he loves what he does. It is “challenging play for me,” he said, noting that no two days are ever the same. “I put everything that I have into the business; it’s all my love…” Aside from his dad’s primary impact, Jim Shrewsberry, his high school drafting teacher, was a huge influence. Scott explained that art is more freestyle, but drafting involves precision and straight lines. The two skill sets combined to help him hone his artistic skills and his love of architecture. “I jumped in feet first,” when beveled and stained glass doors became popular in the ‘80s. Scott’s designs are all hand-drawn originals. “My best comes out when someone says, ‘I don’t know what I want. Use your own judgment.’”