Adams’ Glass Studio (Troy)
The Maker: Charles Adams
Charles Adams is used to seeing cars pass by his store on U.S. 231 in Troy only to turn around and come back to stop.
What caught their eye was the stained-glass art reflecting in the sunlight, so beautiful it forced a brief detour heading to the beach or back home to points north.
Adams understands the appeal. He fell in love with stained glass decades ago.
“I finished high school in ’59 and Daddy had started a peanut house over here selling pecans and peanuts,” Adams said. “I was going to run the store the rest of my life. I wasn’t going to college.”
But one of Adams’ high school teachers saw potential in him and took him to what was then Troy State University (now Troy University) and enrolled him. Art instructor Ed Walter was starting to work glass as a medium and turned Adams onto it.
“Of course, you know what I did, don’t you? I fell in love with it,” Adams said.
Adams worked with clay and glass. In the early 1960s when Walter took some students to an art show in Birmingham, Adams discovered that others would pay for what he made.
“I sold $49 worth that day and I thought I was rich,” Adams said. “It just got in my blood. I started doing these art shows. We raised our kid in a pasteboard box under a table at an art show.”
After working for years with kiln-fired glass pieces, Adams took a job with the Post Office in the 1970s. That didn’t give him the time necessary for kiln-fired glasswork, so he turned his attention to stained glass, which would let him work with it as he had time.
“It’s something you can work on and leave and come back,” Adams said. “You ain’t got to finish it the first day.”
Adams said he never was intimidated by stained glass.
“You have to be real slow to do it. It takes patience and just determination,” he said. “Once it gets in your blood, you don’t have no trouble with it.”
Creating a single stained-glass piece requires drawing out the pattern and cutting from colored sheets of glass to fit the pattern. Each piece is then lined around the edges with copper and then the pieces are assembled and soldered together to create the finished product.
These days, Adams Glass Studio has several pieces in various stages of the process.
There is nothing like stained glass, Adams said.
“The light coming through it and during the day different lights behind them make them work different,” he said.
Adams realized it doesn’t have to be colored glass to create that magic. “I thought stained glass had to be red and yellow and blue and all kind of bright colors, you know?”
When he was at an art show in Atlanta in the 1980s, Adams saw a Ruby Tuesday’s bar that had all-clear windows.
“Well, that just set me on fire,” Adams said. “So, when I come back home, everything I did for the next year was all clear and textured glass. I went back to Atlanta the next year and I sold out because I was the only one that had the clear glass.”
Adams’ Glass Studio has collegiate licensing to do stained glass with logos for the University of Alabama, Auburn University, Troy University and the University of Tennessee.
They can also take a photo of a favorite pet and produce a stained-glass portrait. Christmas creations and Alabama-themed products are always popular. The biggest seller is a beveled-star suncatcher.
Adams’ Glass Studio will produce windows and doors for homes. They also produce stained-glass windows for churches.
Adams’ son, David, took up the art form when he was 9. Plans are the son will take over from his father someday.
“He’s learning a lot of smarter ways to do it,” Adams said of his son.
The product: Stained-glass works of art ranging from small display pieces to door and window installments for homes and churches.
Take home: A beveled-star suncatcher (prices vary).
Products can be purchased at the shop at 12120 U.S. 231, Troy, AL, 36081.