Artist Profile: Christine Alexander

Stained glass artist Christine Alexander presents her work and talks about commissions, referrals and scaling a small business.


After the Rain


ABI:  You mostly do commissioned work.  What markets do you sell to?

CA:  My most successful and preferred practice is creating custom designed projects for individual clients. Mostly these are in residential settings, but I have also done some commercial and ecclesiastical works. I have a degree and experience working in the field of architecture and I particularly enjoy larger installations that have a real impact on their built environment.


Hunter Rose


Stained glass is an interesting creature in that it is not easily defined – it encompasses aspects of architecture, fine art, and craft in a way that few other artistic pursuits do.


Stained glass bevels


ABI:  What is the biggest factor in your gaining commissions?

CA:  Locally, the biggest factor for me in acquiring new work is definitely word of mouth – nothing better than a client referral! I also often create a small piece for a client which leads to a larger project or installation for them or a friend.


Stained Glass Doors to Church


Although it has not brought me a lot of work directly, I feel that having a website has been very useful in this process. It is there 24/7 for the new potential client to visit and get a feel for me and my work without initially committing. Nationally, I have had some success using sites that market artists and artisans to the public, in particular There is a commission to pay to the site and you need to “learn the ropes” at first, but it provides nationwide exposure that I would otherwise not enjoy.


Rose Window


ABI:  How are you scaling your business?

CA:  I think this is an important concept that I have only recently realized I need to work on. As an artist, I love to be just making stained glass. But I don’t always have a big job on the table. It is challenging but useful to try and find other ways to utilize my designs.


Contemporary stained glass


I began by selling my patterns on my website, and am compiling a series of my “mandala” patterns that I hope to publish as a book. I offer custom design services for others which creates income (and a chance to be creative!) without the greater time commitment of fabrication. And I think as artists we always need to reach out to fellow practitioners and network – whenever I can I make sure other artists, firms, suppliers and those in the trade know I am available for joint venture or subcontract work and hope I can call on fellow artists as well.


"Spring" design in stained glass


ABI:  How do you blend creativity and customer service in your business?

CA:  Well, this is my favorite part of the way I am practicing right now. I sometimes worry, looking at my portfolio, that I don’t have a cohesive “look” as many artists do – I’m not sure you would see my work and say “Oh, that’s an Alexander.”


Universe Tree


But I believe focusing on custom commissions is 100% about customer service and it makes each piece unique and widely varying. It all starts with the client’s style and story and where I can go with it. I love that the collaborative creative challenge is a new exploration for us both. The very best projects end with the client saying “It is just exactly what I didn’t know I wanted!”



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  1. By doing commissions, it isn’t easy to develop a personal style because so much of the design is about pleasing the customer. Including what the client wants and trying to remain true to your particular style can prove challenging. Christine’s work is impressive and the organic nature of her work, even in the more geometric patterns she creates, is her signature. Stained glass is a difficult medium to define because most people don’t understand what it is. They see a window in their church or public building somewhere and think that’s what stained glass is. The process of creating the design, choosing the glass, painting the details, firing the glass, soldering everything together, framing make stained glass much more complicated than most artistic mediums. Creating stained glass requires the skills of a draftsman to draw the design, a painter to chose the colors of glass, and the hands of a skilled craftsman to cut the glass and solder it together. Christine’s work shows she has mastered all of these skills.

    • Richard,
      Thank you so much for your kind words about my work. And you very eloquently explained just what it is about working in glass that I find so wonderfully consuming – the combination of skills required and talents involved challenge and satisfy every aspect of the creative in me. Thanks again!

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