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Catching the sun: Blackduck couple creates stained glass art

As the sun shines brightly this summer, the colorful glass masterpieces created by one Blackduck couple will sparkle in windows of homes and other buildings near and far.

Jim and Judy Gorman's Solitude Stained Glass creations were featured last month in the Tin Pan Gallery at the Blackduck History & Arts Center.

The Gormans' handiwork includes large and small sun catchers, many featuring wildlife and outdoor themes, and decorative three-dimensional angels and nativity scenes.

"We start from scratch with a little piece of glass," Judy said.

She said the different styles of glass available to stained glass artists are fascinating.

"You look at it and just think of all the kinds of things you can do with it," Judy said.

Both Jim and Judy said they enjoy the creative element of working with stained glass. Jim noted that the creativity comes in when a person pulls different patterns into one piece.

Although a hobby for the Gormans, their stained glass artistry takes them to about five craft shows every year in towns throughout Minnesota, including Blackduck.

Jim's twist on his bluegill and other fish sun catchers has caught more than the sun. He said his flipped-fin design has caught the eyes of buyers. The design makes the fish three-dimensional.

"I do most of the fish," Jim noted. "One day, I decided to flip the fins on them."

The Gormans' handiwork also includes windows featuring stained glass. The front of the Blackduck Municipal Golf Course's main building, for example, showcases one of the couple's pieces -- a round window featuring a flying duck.

The Gormans began working with stained glass nearly 15 years ago when they lived in Chetek, Wis. The owner of a stained glass shop in nearby Rice Lake, Wis., offered a class that sparked Judy's interest.

"I always wanted to do it," Judy said.

Jim decided to go along with Judy to observe the class. His interest in being an onlooker, however, quickly faded away.

"He was in the building about five minutes and he was in love with stained glass," Judy said. "And that's how we got started. We've taken several classes, but we consider ourselves amateurs."

"It's a lot of fun," Jim said.

He added that he enjoys sharing the hobby with his wife.

Judy added, "We made just one little bedroom in our house into our stained glass shop."