Mary Brown: stained glass

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Mary Maloney Brown was the shy kid growing up on the north side of Cincinnati but would venture down the street to the neighborhood grocery.

She would see the brother of one of her classmates’ exercising out in his yard. Mary recalled that walking by, it was “Like he was Mr. Cincinnati or something.”

She would frequently walk to the neighborhood grocery and it became evident why the guy she knew as “Mr. Cincinnati” started stopping by while she was there.

It wasn’t long before she realized that Ted Brown was one of the nicest people she had ever met, and would do anything that anyone needed and more.

The two became serious within three months, and after dating less than a year were married in 1971.

She began nursing studies in the Good Samaritan nursing program and felt this was something she truly loved to do; but after a year Mary and Ted moved to the Dearborn County area with their two children.

It was there Mary found other interests, including a plumbing and pipefitting family business and working for the Dearborn County Homebuilders Association.

Mary’s Dad had bought a 100-acre farm in Switzerland County in 1977 and he would sit at the kitchen table and call all nine children into the room to see his drawings on what their jobs would be with animals on their farm.

Little did her Dad know that Mary and Ted would eventually live on her slice of that farm, and that she would be creating beautiful works of stained glass art.

Ted finished a workshop for Mary in an outbuilding where she could let her creativity flow.

Mary had always liked a challenge and began watching a show on TV where a lady was working with stained glass. Although she may have gotten some basic tips on glass work, Mary saw no reason why she couldn’t go buy the materials and begin making the pieces in the way she envisioned them.

Mary creates stained glass art but adds dimensions to almost every piece she creates. She began looking at family members and pets and realized she could create portraits of people and animals with stained glass.

One of her favorites was created from a scene of her brother and Dad sitting alongside each other with her Dad’s arm around his son’s shoulder. These are her favorite works.

When asked how many stages there were into creating and finalizing a piece she replied, “Idea, draw, create pattern, cut each piece, spray with adhesive, cut the glass, grind, foil, put together, solder, polish and frame.”

Many of her pieces are available at the Community Art Center in Vevay. When asked how she prices her work, she stated she feels that she always knows what the piece is worth but wants people to enjoy them so she tries to keep them affordable.

The National Canine Cancer Foundation commissioned Mary to create 875 four-inch stained glass dog paws in 2012. The project had a timeline of six weeks and she completed them on time. The Swiss Festival commissioned her to create the wine medallions for the winery competitions from 2007 to 2011.

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For the ‘Flair for Wine’ art auction, Mary is completing a Crème Magnolia and Black Butterfly fireplace screen approximately 40 inches wide and 34 inches tall and is created with over 200 pieces. It is hinged and setting in iron framework built by Ted.

There will be a dimension added to the piece and Mary is contemplating what will make that black butterfly pop. The numerous colors and textures of glass in the piece will provide a beautiful decorative piece to any space.

- Teresa Bovard Lyons