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“I like to tell people that I live in a world of color, light and Band-Aids,” Sheila Beckham, told The Oconee Enterprise during a visit of her business, Idle Hour Glass Art in Watkinsville

Beckham’s passion for glass started at her childhood church in Lithonia. She would sit on the pew with her family and watch light reflect through the stained glass windows. 

“The sun was shining in those windows. It would reflect on the floor, and I loved to watch the color move across the floor,” Beckham said. “I would walk by and touch the glass. I’ve just been fascinated by it since.”

Though Beckham found this passion early on, it took time for her to turn it into a career. In the late 1990s, her husband bought her a glass art kit, but she put it on a shelf once her life as a teacher, administrator and principal at Oconee County High School took over. 

Once she retired in 2014, that passion resurfaced. 

“While I was cleaning out the mechanical room in our house … I found that box that had the glass in it, and I got it down,” Beckham said. “I opened the box, and not one piece of glass was broken. So it was like this sign.”

A few months after taking a refresher course on glass art, Beckham opened up an Etsy shop to get some exposure for her work. She sold her glass art and some of her husband’s woodwork. 

Beckham still has the Etsy shop, but before she opened the studio in Watkinsville, the Etsy shop got “kind of big.” Her products were shipped all across the U.S., and she gained some fame internationally, sending her products to the Netherlands and Australia. 

Beckham decided to move the business to a larger studio because she wanted to add a teaching component. 

“I needed space. It wasn’t to sell more. It was to be able to have the opportunity to teach somebody else how to do stained glass,” Beckham said. “I love teaching. To me, the joy is in sharing that and watching somebody’s face when they make something and they hold it up to the light for the first time … The look on their face is worth every minute of teaching.”

Beckham opened Idle Hour Glass Art in October of 2020

For more on this story, see the Nov. 18 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website. 

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