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Local glass artist offers tips

for leaded, stained glass

Ann Baxter is having a moment in the spotlight — not that she ever expected it. The talented Grosse Pointe Park glass artist who owns Baxter Glass Art reached out to “Rehab Addict” star Nicole Curtis, a Lake Orion native, in 2013 after she learned Curtis would be restoring an old duplex on Detroit’s west side. Within minutes, she got a reply and soon was filming an episode, helping fix some leaded glass windows. Appearing on the show “has been great fun,” says Baxter, who has repaired windows for both of Curtis’s Detroit projects. I met up with Baxter, who also creates original glass art, at her studio late last month to talk about her craft and the best way to take care of early 20th century leaded glass. Her advice: Don’t do on-site repairs. Take broken or damaged panels to a professional or “it ends up costing more money — and more effort to repair it down the road,” says Baxter.

Lead or Zinc: The generic term is “leaded glass windows,” but some old windows or doors actually use zinc. Zinc is lighter-weight, but “it’s a strong metal,” says Baxter. Baxter prefers working with lead, which is softer and pliable.

Damage over time: Glass may break in a leaded glass window, but it’s the metal frame that is usually the problem. The metal “oxidizes over time,” says Baxter. That’s especially the case with exterior doors where the metal is exposed to air all the time.

Why leaded glass windows: Clear, large sheets of glass weren’t available until the mid-century, Baxter says. Until then, “metal or wood were used as a means to connect smaller pieces of glass together in the larger window or door opening,” she says.

New glass art: Baxter, who went to art school, got into glass art after she and husband bought their home and it had multiple leaded glass windows that needed expensive repairs. Her husband suggested she learn how to fix them. She took a class at Detroit’s Steve Frank Stained Glass Studio and “it just evolved,” she says. Over the last 30 years, she’s designed and repaired windows, doors, and panels for churches, homes, and businesses all over Metro Detroit.

Cleaning tips: Use ammonia-free glass cleaner with a soft cloth, Baxter says. “And it’s best to spray on the cloth and then clean the glass, leaving the metal alone.”

Herbalist addresses Troy Garden Club

on Wednesday

Are you dreaming about sunshine, warm breezes and fresh rosemary from the garden? I can’t promise sunshine and warms breezes anytime soon, but we can at least talk about fresh herbs. Janet Downey, an herbalist and advanced master gardener volunteer with the Troy Garden Club, will speak Wednesday to the club musical; her topic is “Scarborough Faire, with a Twist of Lemon Balm.” It starts at noon with an herb-themed light lunch, followed by Downey’s one-hour presentation at 1 p.m. The cost is $7 for guests. To reserve a seat, email infoandideas@aol.com; arrive by 11:45 a.m. The Troy Garden Club meets at the Big Beaver United Methodist Church, 3753 John R. For information, visit TroyGardenClubMI.com.

Homestyle hosts Dish and Design

Dinner Party April 22

Would you love to host a dinner party, but need some recipe ideas and decorating tips? Join us at Homestyle’s Dish and Design Dinner Party, 6-8:30 p.m. April 22 at EuroAmerica Design in Troy. Approximately 70 readers and their guests will be chosen to learn how to create the ultimate dinner party in the comfort of their own home. The event will consist of five stations – appetizer, entree, dessert, craft cocktail and table setting — each with a 20-minute demonstration. Guests will be divided into five groups and will rotate throughout the EuroAmerica showroom to each demonstration, based on an assigned schedule. Readers can enter to win tickets at detroitnews.com/dishanddesign until April 12. Food and cocktail demonstrations will be done by Bistro 82 in Royal Oak and the table settings and floral arrangements will be done by Jeffrey Jucewicz from Jeffrey Floral Architecture.

Wanted: Home or garden tour

information, details

Planning a home or garden tour this spring or summer? Homestyle wants to know! Email me at mfeighan@detroitnews.com with details about your community’s upcoming tour, ticket information, photos and contact information for the tour’s organizers. Please email me at least a month in advance. Soon, we’ll have a 2015 tour calendar on detroitnews.com.

Gorman’s celebrates 75 years, offers college scholarships

Imagine buying canned goods and not knowing what was inside the can. In 1940, Ben Gorman founded a company, appropriately named Gorman’s, as a damaged railroad freight goods company. He bought canned goods — without labels; labels were extra — and sold them for 10 cents a can. He also occasionally bought salvage furniture. “He sold the furniture for $40,” says Tom Lias, chief operating officer of Gorman’s Home Furnishings & Interior Design. “He said, ‘Wow, that’s a lot of cans.’” Seventy-five years later, Gorman’s has came a long ways since its canned good beginnings. With four Metro Detroit locations — its Southfield location celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and Novi marks 20 years this year — along with an expanding presense in Grand Rapids, Gorman’s continues to grow and evolve. “You don’t get to be 75 by doing the same old things,” Lias says. “You get there by continually re-inventing, challenging yourself and doing things that are totally outside your comfort zone.” Gorman’s will celebrate with a private party later this month. As part of its anniversary, the retailer also announced this week it will award 10 $750 post-secondary education scholarships to students attending any accredited Michigan college or university interior design program (go to gormans.com/scholarship). And will the retailer ever return to Detroit, where its first store operated on Livernois near 6 Mile until it burned down during the 1967 riots? Possibly. “If the Detroit (market) continued to grow the way it’s trending — and it seems to be — there’s no telling,” Lias says.

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