Reflecting the Light
By Ellen Samsell Salas
Stained glass creator Tristan Tuttle has always been an artist of some sort. When she was a child, she sang and played bluegrass-gospel music in her father’s prayer meetings. At 15, she started teaching guitar, mandolin, and dog-house bass. After earning a degree in English, Tuttle became a freelance writer. Now, from her home studio in Ball Ground, she shares her vibrant spirit as the artist and owner of Reflecting Light Stained Glass.
Four years ago, Tuttle discovered that making stained glass is yet another way to reflect the love she believes God has blessed her with.
Drawn to the medium by its beauty, she said, “I always loved glass and how the light looks through it.”
Under the tutelage of her mentor, Jasper artist Tony Raxter, she learned how to enhance that light and reveal hidden beauty of glass. “You think glass wouldn’t be flexible, but it is,” she said.
Working primarily in the copper foil method that allows more detail than using lead strips, Tuttle creates almost anything her clients request, from small butterflies and birds, to chandeliers, windows, and skylights.
But it is her house portraits that have a special meaning to her.
“So much life happens in those walls. You build your life there. I love to commemorate that and to give that to people,” Tuttle said.
Her first home portrait was a gift for her mother-in-law, a portrait of the cabin that has been in the family for generations.
“I didn’t know how it would turn out,” she said. “But everyone loved it, and then people started asking if I would do their homes.”
When clients commission home portraits, Tuttle asks them to share significant details about their houses, so she can capture them. In her cabin portrait, she included the carved yard sign of the cabin’s name, and using confetti glass, she conveyed the fall leaves her mother-in-law loved so much.
She even mimics a home’s textures by making her windows three-dimensional, layering textured glass on top of clear glass. If the client requests it, her husband, Jared, will make a plaque for the portrait.
While she finds creating stained glass to be relaxing “as long as the glass is breaking right,” Tuttle is often impatient to see the beauty she will capture.
“I love that once I solder it, I can finally pick it up and see the light shine through it,” said Tuttle.
Whether she is making a home portrait or a window commissioned as a special gift, Tuttle feels “truly blessed” to share the beauty of light and glass with her clients.
For more information about Tuttle and her work, visit ReflectingLightStainedGlass.com or call 770-557-8228