Whether it reminds you of the solace of a church pew or delights your senses with its varied palette, stained glass is something almost everyone enjoys. And just like light through an ornate colorful window, the light that shines through our Artist of the Month Dorothy Jeffries casts a warm, colorful glow on all who meet her.
“I took a stained glass class from a woman probably 30 years ago, and I’ve been teaching it ever since. I just went home and did it,” Dorothy said. “The first piece I ever made was a big tree with some flowers in it for my husband for Father’s Day. My husband, Jack, who passed away this year, always supported my hobbies. Always. He even helped me teach my classes. He loved to cut glass.”
Not only does Dorothy teach stained glass out of her home in Oswego through a partnership with Labette Community College, she’s also taught folk art, T-shirt painting, painting on canvas and doll making. Her favorite part of making stained glass is coming up with new ideas, and the most challenging part is trying to find a pattern she likes and finding the right glass.
Dorothy became involved in the Presbyterian Manor Art is Ageless program two years ago when she was invited by Marketing Director Terry Lillie, who is a student of Dorothy’s.
“One of Dorothy’s students, Clara Boulware, entered some stained glass into Art is Ageless in 2012. I asked her how she learned to do stained glass and she told me about Dorothy and the classes she taught,” Terry said. “I had expressed that this was on my bucket list for when I retired and would love to meet her. I’ve been taking classes for over a year now. I love it!”
Dorothy’s work “Hope” is featured in the 2014 Art is Ageless calendar.
“Art is Ageless is a wonderful program,” she said. “Just like my art classes, it allows seniors to get out and socialize. They get to know so many people. So often, they just stay home otherwise. Once we finally get them into class, they were just so thankful. One woman showed up in tears and said, ‘All I do is lay on the couch and cry at home.’ It’s wonderful to get people involved in art.”
In addition to her art classes, Dorothy keeps up with her four chihuahuas, Jasmine, Little Bear, Sugar Bear and Black Jack, as well as five children, 15 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“If anyone wants to get involved in art, they should go for it. They’ll be happy they did. It used to be that people my age were scared to do anything new. Their whole lives they’ve been taking care of families, cooking and those types of things. Now, they get to rediscover who they are,” said Dorothy.