Wiltrout captures the light in blue and yellow to support Ukraine

“I love creating new designs and do a fair amount of custom work for clients”


Courtesy of Theresa Wiltrout

One of the two designs on Wiltrouts Etsy page; LightsCameraGlass.

Retired AP Biology teacher, Theresa Wiltrout, is using  her stained glass skills to show support to those suffering in Ukraine. She is creating sunflowers (the national flower of Ukraine) using the colors in the nation’s flag and taking 25% of  the sales and donating it to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) By early April, Wiltrout has sold 52 sunflowers and donated $416.

Two options to buy from Wiltrout on Etsy (Courtesy of Theresa Wiltrout)

Witrout, along with many other Americans, was deeply struck by the violence happening in Ukraine. She decided to use her skills and show her support to the Ukrainian people.  The IRC is working to help 4 million refugees who have been displaced in the war.

“I wanted to do something for the Ukrainian people, and the idea came to me to make sunflowers, their country flowers in the colors of their flag.” Although she doesn’t have a personal connection in Urkaine, she feels “This is a way I could create beautiful artwork that would give solidarity to the people of Ukraine during this senseless war.” 

Wiltrout’s love for stained glass started in 2019 when she took a six-week class at the Visual Arts Center in Punta Gorda, Florida

“When I was first introduced to stained glass many years ago, I wanted to learn how to create art in this medium. When my husband and I moved to Florida as retirees, I finally had the time to invest in learning the art of stained glass,” Wiltrout said. 

Stained glass pieces are harder to make than they look.. Wiltrout uses pictures to help create her pieces; she’ll ask customers to give her pictures to help her make colors almost exactly to the picture and to capture their personality. 

Wiltrout with the finished stained glass panel of Meisenheimer’s cow (Courtesy of Theresa Wiltrout)

“Creating a design in stained glass is different from other art mediums because you have to be aware of where your cut lines will be. For instance, stained glass portraits are very difficult because you can’t just cut a shape in the middle of a piece of glass, say, for the eyes. Choosing the correct glass colors is another important technique. Some glass is transparent, some is translucent, and some is completely opaque. All of that has to be taken into consideration as it will have varying effects on the look of the finished piece,” Wiltrout said. 

Wiltrout has been a visual artist for many years, sharing her photography, especially of wildlife in national parks, with her friends. Using skills and passion for stained glass, Wiltrout began making custom pieces for friends and even past students.

“Shortly after I started taking class in stained glass, I would post my projects to Instagram and Facebook. A former  student Morgan Meisenheimer  saw these pictures and contacted me and asked if I would be interested in making a stained glass panel of a cow for her mother. I had never thought of doing this for a profit, and to be honest, I was very nervous about making something for someone else, especially since I had only been doing stained glass for about three months. I decided to ‘take the leap’ and made the cow from a photograph Morgan sent me. From there, I continued to make custom pieces for people and eventually decided to open an Etsy shop in March 2020,” Wiltrout said. 

Picture of Wiltrout’s daughter and the stained glass panel of her daughter. (Courtesy of Theresa Wiltrout)

Many of her pieces are inspired by pictures she has taken.  

“One of my most treasured pieces, a stained glass panel of my daughter, was created by a picture I took of her on the overlook of the Empire State Building. The panel has almost 300 pieces, and I made it only five months after starting my first class in stained glass,” Wiltrout said. 

Stained glass is a unique type of medium and art and can be fun to learn. Finding local classes or watching YouTube videos can help advance or even start a new passion for stained glass making.

“I would suggest that they start by taking a class if they can find one locally. But if not, there are lots of ‘how to’ videos on the internet. The class I took was once a week for six weeks, and it taught me the very basics. From there, I spent many hours watching YouTube tutorials to further my knowledge in the art and practicing. I bought all of the necessary tools and machinery about one week after starting my class. I had everything I needed to practice at my house,” Wiltrout said.