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Colorful Creations

Stained glass becomes beloved hobby for Novi man

Created date

February 20th, 2014
man standing next to stained glass

In 2010, Fred Wiegand and his wife Nan moved from Texas to Fox Run, an Erickson Living community in Novi, Mich. The Wiegands had been living in a gated community in Texas for the beginning of their retirement and decided they wanted to move back to Michigan, where they had spent most of their adult lives and where most of their children and grandchildren currently live. 

Shortly after moving to Fox Run in 2010, Fred stumbled onto a hobby that has since become one of his greatest sources of joy and occupies the lion’s share of his leisure time. As a new resident, he paid a visit to the on-site hobby shop, assuming he would do some woodworking, which is something he’d done a lot in the past. 

“On one whole side of the room there was all of this stained glass, and no one was using it. It was sitting idle,” Fred recalls. “I thought, ‘I’ve always liked stained glass. Maybe I will learn how to do that.’”

Straight to the head of the class

Fred enrolled in a stained-glass class for beginners in a nearby town. He was a fast learner, and at the end of the course he approached the instructors about taking on a large and complex project. He says the instructors were insistent that he’d need some more training before taking on a project of that magnitude. But Fred was determined, so he forged ahead and created a 3- by 2-foot stained-glass window that now graces his son’s cottage in Northern Michigan. 

“I did do it, and it came out great. The instructors were both absolutely amazed,” Fred says. “They said, ‘You don’t need an intermediate class; go directly to the advanced class.’”

Over the last two years, Fred has created about 20 intricate stained-glass pieces of various sizes. All of the tools and equipment he needs, including a diamond grinder and a diamond band saw, are stocked in Fox Run’s hobby shop, where Fred now spends many of his days working among friends.

“Some days, I go down to the hobby shop at 9 a.m. and come home at 5 p.m.,” he says.

Labor of love

Making stained-glass works of art is a time-consuming process, Fred says. One of his favorite creations depicts a peacock. It is made from 367 pieces of colorful glass and took 160 hours to construct.

Not surprisingly, Fred’s stunning stained-glass art is in hot demand. Fred and Nan have kept four stained-glass pieces for their own home—a two-bedroom, two-bathroom Kingston-style apartment home at Fox Run. He’s given most of his pieces to his children and grandchildren. Recently, he’s been asked by some of his children’s friends to make pieces for their homes, which he’s happily done. He says the kinds of pieces he makes have retail values of $800 to $2,000.

“I’ve never gotten into doing it to sell,” he says. “I think if I did that, it would cease to be a hobby, so I give them away.”

Earlier this winter, Fred was hard at work on his next stained-glass creation—a special piece he was planning to donate to the silent auction at Fox Run’s annual gala this summer. Proceeds from the silent auction benefit one of Fox Run’s charities.