Patti Johnson handles glass with flair

By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal features editor
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Patti Johnson is gaga about glass. Johnson, owner of PJ’s Raising Came in Auburn, has loved glass all her life, and has worked with it for more than 25 years. “When you start doing stained glass the bug will bite and all of a sudden you’ll find yourself with all this glass and you won’t know what to do with it,” Johnson said. “It’s all in the glass, the way it looks.” Johnson took her first stained-glass class in 1982, in Hayward. Her first window, a round design featuring a unicorn, hangs in the storefront where she set up shop in 2001. Johnson said stained glass takes time and patience, but that it can be quite a meditative process. “You enter into a land of Zen, so to speak,” she said. “You think it’s 2 in the afternoon but really it’s 6 in the evening and your family is starving.” Johnson started playing with fuzed glass in 2002. “I bought the kiln and wanted to play with it,” she said. The best part about working with fused glass — creating art objects by melting and fusing glass in a kiln — is making your own jewelry, Johnson said. “I get more compliments on anything I wear,” she said. “I think there’s a little bit of crow in all of us that likes the shiny things. With the fused glass you can make a shiny piece of jewelry and take it with you.” Johnson teaches classes through her shop and also through the Auburn Recreation District. Shirley Fong has been a student of Johnson’s since last fall. She and her sister, who drives up from Elk Grove, take classes every Saturday. “She’s constantly giving us feedback and new ideas,” Fong said of Johnson. Johnson said teaching is just another way to express her love of glass. “I love it so much that I want to share it with other people and to have them enjoy it as much as I do,” she said of teaching. __________ PJ’s Raising Came Try it out: Classes available in stained glass, fused and slumped glass, fused jewelry, wire wrapping, mosaics Where: 1149 Grass Valley Highway, Auburn Contact: (530) 368-0652 Coming up Glass fusing/jewelry making class with Patti Johnson When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays April 23-May 7 Cost: $70 for Auburn residents, $75 non-resident; $30 materials fee due first day of class Register: Class offered through Auburn Recreation District; sign up at Raising Came? What’s the deal with the business name? Johnson says “came” is the lead encircling each piece of glass, and “raising” is the act of lifting the finished artwork and “experiencing the life of the glass as the light shines through.”