The front wall of the studio sparkles from a long drape of salvaged gold, silver and bronze chains. Rows of shelves are packed with carefully marked bins holding costume jewelry, vintage pins, medals, baubles and pearl strands. One corner hosts a neat line-up of old window sashes. At least one hundred small paints are sorted by shade next to a host of glass and metal tools. This is clearly not an accumulation that was born in a one weekend shopping spree. Instead, it’s the decades-long collection of rummaged creative elements that will soon turn into treasure. This is Janet Edelman’s studio.
Janet recalls her love for color started when she was a child in Coplay, PA. “I was always building…always creating something,” she remembers. Specifically, she loved colored glass and the way light and sun would reflect through it. “I remember the first time I saw a Tiffany lamp and thought it was beautiful. I thought I could make one if I just had someone show me how.”
After high school graduation, she went to work for AT&T, where she served a thirty-year career. In her free time, her artistic flair only brightened. Like many inspired minds, she turned her home into a showcase of ideas. “I was always proud that my home was different; it was my own,” she says. Janet took her first stained glass class in 1978 and courses in painting, jewelry making and other arts ever since.
During those years, she started picking up pieces of…anything…that she thought looked interesting. “I started buying odds and ends that I wanted to make into jewelry,” she explains. “I might see vintage earrings but think they could be turned into a pretty necklace.” To this day, her jewelry line is focused on her ability to find that one “junction” piece – a brooch, a key or even the center of a door handle that becomes a stem to hold additional elements.
When she started wearing her own jewelry and making stained glass gifts for her family, it was noticed. Soon co-workers, neighbors and friends began asking for her creations to buy. And when they asked for Tiffany-style lamps, she delivered. “After some practice, I was able to conceive of my own designs,” she says.
Upon request, Janet has created wedding jewelry and has repurposed family legacy jewelry for new generations. Her stained-glass works have been commissioned for homes and businesses, along with a stunning panel of The Last Supper now on permanent display at her church.
Thanks to a young retirement, Janet turned more time to her first love of art, started dreaming up new items, found welcoming outlets for her work and started teaching stained glass techniques. In 2014, her sidelined obsession came full circle when she launched her stained glass panels, star lights and recreated jewelry at several Lehigh Valley antique and art retail centers, galleries and fairs.
Today, that studio – the metals and paints, gems, glass, frames and tools – is in motion every day, transforming a lifetime of study and ideas, collecting and gathering, into the gifts, fashion, and furnishings that are the eclectic and inspired wares of Janet Edelman, Artisan.