Children are learning all sorts of crafts, including how to paint scarecrows on stained glass, at the Seaford Public Library.
Michelle Pappas, a Long Island-based artist, has been teaching classes on making glass suncatchers in Floral Park, where she is from, but has recently expanded her programs to other libraries in Nassau County, such as in Seaford.
During her class in September, she gave instruction on a stained-glass scarecrow suncatcher design, and it was a fun-filled fall craft time for Seaford children and teens.
The artist works primarily with hand-painted stained glass and sells her work through her online business, Through the Looking Glass. She said she was excited to share her passion with students.
Pappas welcomed the students into the library’s meeting room and explained the craft. She walked around the room as they worked, offering help and paint refills when needed. She provided all the supplies, including her original artwork.
In order to create the stained-glass suncatchers, Pappas outlined the scarecrow design on the suncatcher with leading, which is a special type of black ink for this kind of project and can be bought at any craft store.
When coloring the design, she used window color paint, which looks and dries like regular paint.
According to Pappas, the coloring is all done with toothpicks, but she gave students paintbrushes because she said it would be easier for them.
“I always try to tell them that with toothpicks it always comes out the best,” Pappas explained. “They make the paint less thin and streaky, and you can get into more detail with them.”
Pappas was first introduced to stained glass in 2012 as a high school student, and she quickly began using it as her primary medium for art creation. She began selling her work online in November 2017, and it is currently her full-time job.
In addition to suncatchers, she makes teacups and saucers, picture frames and candle jars. She also creates other products, like wax candles. All of these products are available for purchase on her Etsy shop, Through the Looking Glass and on her Facebook page.
Pappas began her library art instruction in 2018, courtesy of her sister who had a connection with their local library.
“My sister used to work at the Floral Park Library,” Pappas said. “I was familiar with the people who worked there, so I asked the people who ran it, and they said sure.”
In addition to selling her work online and running library programs, Pappas has sold to-go kits for birthday parties and has even worked with the Junior Woman’s Club. For Pappas, she hopes to expand and reach out to others with a passion for art.
“I definitely would like to branch out,” she said. “I think it would be fun to actually (instruct at) a children’s birthday party.”
The artist’s long-term goal for Through the Looking Glass is to occupy a studio space, where she could sell her work and organize paint nights.
In addition to hosting Pappas and her suncatchers, the Seaford Public Library holds other classes for children and young adults in Seaford. Classes offered include arts and crafts, speaker events and community service projects.