A Little About Us
Sparkling stained glass windows, colorful fused glass, unique jewelery, brightly colored mirrors and other art glass will bedazzle and inspire the beholder. What makes it more of a treat is that the working studio is right in the middle of the gallery area, so you can actually see work in progress.
Susan Kennedy Sommerfeld has maintained the studio in Billings since 1981, creating art glass that will survive generations to come. In the early 1970's, Alice Kennedy ( Susan's mother) searched stained glass studio after stained glass studio until she found the most beautiful work and the best workmanship. She walked in the door and said, "I want to study at this studio." (Alice had just retired from teaching and was ready to pursue her love of stained glass.) In 1978 when Susan was home from California, Alice passed her expert stained glass techniques on to Susan. Now, many years later, Susan has created hundreds of pieces of art glass that have enlivened churches, homes, and businesses throughout the country. Whenever they need a break from the very labor-intensive windows that she and the other artists at her studio build, they create wonderfully unique small art pieces.
Three of the other artists Susan collaborates with are Sherina McIntyre, Jean James, and Debbie Heidema. All were either Susan or Alice's students. Elizabeth Alexander is the newest addition to the studio. "It's wonderful to have such complete trust in the crew that is fabricating my designs," says Susan.
Susan enjoys working closely with her clients to assure that they will enjoy their commissioned artwork for years to come. Most of the work done in the studio is commissioned to meet the needs of a specific client. The studio also works closely with architects, builders and interior designers on a variety of projects.
Leaded glass windows are the mainstay of Kennedy's Stained Glass because they incorporate the centuries old tradition of stained glass artistry. Leaded glass provides both a structural integrity and flexibility that other techniques can't match. Incorporating the ancient aspects of glass work is only a part of the final artwork at Kennedy's Stained Glass. They are innovators in their approach to detail within their designs. Within a leaded glass design, other techniques such as etching, laminating, fusing, painting, overlays, and bevels can be used to transform this craft into an art form. Kennedy's Stained Glass prides itself in this approach to innovative detail.
Restorations and Slab Glass work are also specialized areas of stained glass work that Kennedy's Stained Glass has worked in extensively.
It is so very fun to do all these different things with glass. It pushes your abilities each window is unique. ~Susan Kennedy
Staff & Bios
Susan Kennedy Sommerfeld has maintained the studio in Billings since 1981, creating art glass that will survive generations to come. In the early 1970's, Alice Kennedy ( Susan's mother) searched stained glass studio after stained glass studio until she found the most beautiful work and the best workmanship. She walked in the door and said, "I want to study at this studio." In 1978 when Susan was home from California, Alice passed her expert stained glass techniques on to Susan. Now, many years later, Susan has created hundreds of pieces of art glass that have enlivened churches, homes, and businesses throughout the country.
Many years ago at the Lewistown Art Center I wrapped a piece of lead around a roundish shape of red glass and called it an apple. It was enough to make me want to try more, and I never looked back. Upon returning to Billings nine years ago I was fortunate enough to begin working with Susan Sommerfeld, a kindred soul and fellow glass geek at Kennedys Stained Glass. From creating massive new windows, to restoring very old windows, and consistently helping to produce wonderful one-of-a kind works of art, I truly enjoy all aspects of "stained glass." Glass is my passion; I hope to be creative and productive for years to come.
When people ask me what I do I can not help but get excited about telling them, I mean how many people get to say they are part of creating original art all day long? While sewing and quilting were always my medium of choice, it wasn't until Susan asked if I'd be interested in helping her that I had my first experience with glass. Susan had known me for years through preforming together in local theatre productions and thought I might be a good fit for helping with pattern and finish work at her studio. Once I started to work with her team I was hooked. I love the detailed work and being a part of such beautiful designs; it's very gratifying.
Debbie's stained glass career began when she took classes from Susan in the early 80's. She has continued to work and teach off and on since that time. While away from Kennedy's she branched out to own her stained glass studio and worked in a stained glass studio in Kansas City.
Although Debbie works in all areas of glass, one of her specialities is glass painting.