Makin Glass With Anderson's Kimberly Makin
● By Melissa Mendonca
A Glass Menagerie
By Melissa MendoncaKimberly Makin was on a weary road when she decided to move to Northern California with her young sons. “We were crossing over the interstate to go to Fort Bragg and we saw the sign to Redding and we thought, ‘Why don’t we just turn right and go to Redding?’” she says.
Photo: Manda Reed
They were looking for a fresh start after illness, family upheaval and stress. They were on the road, but Makin was unsure of her path.
Thankfully, she’d been given a navigational tool of sorts from her mother, Mary Mooney, a few years prior: instructions in creating stained glass art. A short stint in Antioch saw her working in a stained glass shop, where she’d honed her skills and learned the business.
That skill, offered as a way to combat depression, paved the way to a new business for Makin and a valuable resource for North State artists. In January 2004, Makin opened Makin Glass in Anderson. What started as a stained glass shop and studio has expanded to include mosaic, glass bead making, glass fusion and clay ceramics.
Now, she says, “I honestly feel like I’m on the path that God chose for me and I just can’t turn it off.” The evidence came on with the force of a lightning bolt when Father Philip Wells of Sacred Heart Church in Anderson invited her to work on the stained glass of the church.
While some may be intimidated to work on such a reverential project, where the windows will filter the joys, sorrows, prayers and petitions of a congregation, Makin says she looked at the project ahead of her and said, “Oh my God. I know how to do this! I know every step! My path! My path!”
That project remains Makin’s most profound, though she has since gone on to create seven custom windows for Red Emmerson’s custom home. “The one day it rained this summer was the one day we needed it to stay cool,” says Makin of the church window installation. “After we got that, we were on a natural high, my mom and I.” That high has continued as the business has grown to include a cherished group of customers who meet regularly, including home-schooled children and adults seeking a community from which to learn and grow.
Redding resident Phillis Martin says, “I fell into this wonderful Tuesday group and they’ve been so supportive.” Martin learned the art of mosaic at Makin Glass and says Makin, her mother and the others in her group were instrumental in helping her create a mosaic butterfly that took two years to complete. “It was my first project and it was huge,” she says, crediting the support she received with the fact that she finished it. “It’s pretty big and heavy, but it was a good learning experience.”
In addition to classes, the studio offers a guild membership that allows artists to work independently during certain hours and use tools and specialized workspace.
Makin has added various arts to her offerings as opportunities and demands have presented themselves. When the previous owner of a clay business insisted on selling to her, she took over to become the largest supplier of clay in the region, supplying schools, studios and individual artists.
She dreams of adding a metal shop, wood shop and glass blowing area to her studio, saying, “I feel it’s necessary to have the ability to learn these different crafts. We’re so stuck on our computers we’ve lost the ability to learn how to build a cabinet. I believe there are a lot of people that want to learn woodworking but just can’t afford the equipment.”
When customers complete their projects, Makin encourages them to enter the Shasta District Fair, especially her home-schooled students. Any ribbons won will be proudly displayed in the shop, where she also keeps track of kids’ growth at a doorway height chart notched with pencil marks over many years.
Her own children are now grown, with her oldest at California State University, Monterey Bay studying art and her youngest a Shasta College student. “They are recognized in the community as good, decent people,” Makin says of her sons, adding that they are both Eagle Scouts.
The shop has rooted her family in the Anderson area and brought healing through not only art, but connection, she says. “When you create something there’s a sense of pride. If you’re building, you become active and you care about your community more.”
Makin Glass & Pottery
2908 Douglas St., Anderson
(530) 365-6316 • www.makinglass.com