BJ Hatten has been a stained glass artist for over 23 years in Enterprise, Mississippi. Her mother and sister ran their studio, North River Studios, and BJ soon joined the duo to learn the ins and outs of the glass work. Each piece BJ makes is uniquely handcrafted from beginning to end. She's known for her colorful handiwork and carefully forging parts together with skill and ease. So much so that she's been teaching the art for over ten years at Jones College's Jasper County Campus.
"My mom and my sister learned how to make stained glass years ago, and they used to make stained glass windows for churches, homes, stabilize doors for homes."
She continues, "I used to draw a lot of their glass patterns, and my sister encouraged me to start making sun glass with Mama. So I quit my job on the road, and Mom and I started doing stained glass together. She taught me the Tiffany method and how to use copper foil."
While she is a skilled craftsman, her greatest gift is teaching others the craft and seeing their stained glass projects come to life. Her passion for sharing her knowledge has given her ten years worth of experience and students who are just as passionate about stained glass as she is. Multiple students share one passion, so they've come together to be a collective vendor at Mississippi Made.
"Some of our students have been taking my class for ten years. I've got a couple that has been taken for at least six! All of my students learn how to create glass with the Tiffany method. They're learning how to cut the glass, grind the glass, and there are a lot of steps to make one piece of glass. Cut it, grind it, clean it, wrap it with the copper, and then solder it. They can either put a patina on it that turns it either copper, black, or leave it the solder color."
BJ works alongside her students and encourages them to grow and take on commissions if they're ready. She enjoys guiding beginners and seasoned artists in pricing and the tricky work as they become more comfortable.
She says, "There are seasoned students who have been there for years, but we all help each other. It's great because my older students will help out if I'm helping another newbie, too."
BJ and her students make a wide array of stained glass hangers for Mississippi Made, and they're proud of the diversity and unique flair. They offer plant sticks for potted plants, rainbow rain chains, and different-sized panels of different color variations. As BJ would say, "There's no limit to what we can make. It's all up to your imagination!"
Please stop by the Jones College Jasper College tent at Mississippi Made on June 11th and say hello to BJ and her class!