Arroyo Grande couple turns glass-art hobby into business

Steve and Katherine Anderson
Steve and Katherine Anderson Special to The Tribune

Nine years ago Katherine Anderson of Arroyo Grande, retiring from a career in education and student services director at San Luis Coastal Unified School District, wondered what she would do next.

“I was retiring, and like a lot of women, I made one quilt, one sweater,” trying different crafts to see what she might like to do for a hobby, she said. She saw an ad for stained glass, took a class and was hooked!

Five years ago when her husband, Steve, retired as principal at Laguna Middle School in San Luis Obispo, she told him he might like it, too. “It’s right up your alley,” she said, with his skills in precision, geometry, etc. (He’s a former math teacher).

Thus, Steve has also immersed himself in glass. They have a studio set up in their garage, complete with three different-sized kilns, a large glass cutter and tools. On the wall hang several examples of recent work, glass slabs that hang like paintings.

Katherine started out making glass jewelry: beads, earrings and medallions. The two also began with stained glass, which has copper foil between the layers; they have several pieces in their home.

Currently they are concentrating on fused glass and mosaics. These include folded vases, small glass boxes, plates, bowls and the wall art. One of Steve’s favorite wall pieces is a shirt, many of which have a Hawaiian motif.

During an interview Steve explained the process of making fused glass pieces. Each piece may have two or three layers, which will require two or three firings. It can take eight days to complete a piece, between the firings and the coolings.

Other wall art includes scenery, underwater themes and copies of fine art, such as Van Gogh’s famous “Starry Night.”

The Andersons came up with their studio name TwoKasaGlassArt from their own first names. Two refers to them both. Ka is from Katherine; sa from Steve Anderson; it spoofs the Spanish “casa”, and essentially means “from our house to yours.” Katherine explains, “We make glass in our home we think you might want in your home.”

Steve and Katherine recently participated in Open Studios, which they have done for the last seven years, and had more than 200 visitors. They have also shown their art at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art.

One technique is a kind of woven piece. They buy strings of different colored glass and string them together using Krazy Glue. They can leave pieces sticking out to give a fringe effect.

“This is kind of a hobby that turned into a business,” Katherine pointed out. But we “don’t do it for a living; it’s not about the selling, it’s about the making.”

Added Steve: “Our philosophy is to make stuff that we enjoy. There is a wonderful feel to glass ... so soft, so smooth.” For Katherine it’s the colors that excite her. “We sell glass to buy glass, not to make money,” she added.

The Andersons redesigned their kitchen. Steve designed the stove backsplash to go with new tiles surrounding the counter. Katherine made the glass cupboard knobs to match.

For more information, go to twokasaglassart.wordpress.com to see examples of their hand-crafted glass work, or call 709-0809.