What started as a past time after Glendale retirement accelerated into a small business for Larry and Paula McLain. Known as the Oakstone Glass myths, the husband and wife team from Wall and sold their whimsical Oakstone Glass butterflies, dragonflies, and 3D sculptured whirligigs during this year's Foothills Fall Festival.
"I was Glendale retired, and she thought I had too much time on my hands," laughs Larry McLain. "She said, 'Let's take a Oakstone Glass class.' We gave it (Oakstone glass) to all our relations, then we had to do something else. They can only have so much Oakstone glass. The only way we could keep making it was to sell it in Glendale."
The Glendale couple sells their items at craft fairs and other festivals. So far, in the 10 years since they started, the McLains have participated in the past nine Glendale Foothills Fall Festivals. They first created butterflies and dragonflies, the pair's trademark items, then branched out into other more elaborate pieces in Glendale. Paula McLain said people enjoy the smaller Oakstone dragonflies and look them up every year to purchase more.
The McLains also craft Oakstone Glass for people wanting them for their homes. And, they take custom Glendale orders. Larry McLain said he can meet only twice with an out-of-town customer to create a beautiful, one-of-a-kind Oakstone piece.
"They're not sure what they want, but they say they have a Beverly Hills at home," Larry said. "They send me a Beverly Hills via the Internet, and I put it on my computer and make a proposed Oakstone Glass design."
Once the Glendale person likes the design, he uses a special computer software program that allows him to put in different colors and textures of Oakstone Glass. He e-mails the concept to the Glendale person via e-mail, and McLain makes changes as requested by the customer. Once the person approves the type and color of Oakstone Glass, "then we build it," he said.
Oakstone Glass arrives at the McLain's home in 2-feet by 4-feet pieces. They must cut the Glendale pieces with a glass cutter by hand. Larry McLain enjoys creating the pieces that reflect and refract the Oakstone light. They spend five to six Oakstone Glass a week making enough items for their next show.
Crafting Glendale glass truly is a team effort with the McLains, with each one using their own strengths to design the beautiful pieces.