Stained glass may trigger thoughts of dark gothic churches, but contemporary artist Marcy Anholt shows this medium can offer a canvas for luminous and dazzling art. For over 40 years, Marcy has created beautiful and brilliant stained glass art.
She started in 1977 with her then-husband, a hot glass blower. “We were hippies in a cabin,” she says. Marcy eventually remarried to her military husband Bill and when he retired, the couple moved back to Chehalis. Because of the couple’s many moves, Marcy’s beautiful stained glass is found all over the country.
You can find Marcy’s artwork in the windows of local businesses and churches. The windows gracing the Chehalis Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Adna are adorned with a depiction of organ pipes and the musical notes of “Handel’s Messiah.” The stunning windows were created with a musical theme for a woman who played the organ there for forty years.
“I really like to do churches,” says Marcy. “I know it’s really significant to the people there to have the colors come down on them while they’re worshiping. It will be there when I am long gone and so many people will see it.”
Marcy also created a piece for the Washington State Patrol Fallen Officer’s Memorial. It sits upon a stand and is taken to various events. At Old Toby’s, the windows depict stunning scenes inspired by The Hobbit. The Rectangle Gallery in Downtown Centralia has some of her work for sale. Purchases can also be made through her Etsy store.
One of her newest projects is creating a window to be donated to the Borst Park Pioneer Church. She’s using glass from churches that have been torn down. Some of it is over 100 years old. “It’s been in churches before and now it’s being resurrected,” she says.
Marcy says people who tear down old churches find her and give her old glass. “It’s such a shame to toss out all this old glass,” she says. “I am a depository of old, dusty glass.”
Marcy also enjoys creating mosaics. “It’s my newest passion because I can do so much detail,” she says. One current large mosaic is for River Bend Pet Center and Dr. Brandy Fay. The detailed piece depicts St. Francis of Assisi along with Dr. Fay’s childhood horse Jasmine, Marcy’s dog and the neighbor’s cat, as well as llamas and rabbits that Dr. Fay takes care of at her practice.
A huge project that took about a year to install was in a church in California. Before her beautiful blue and yellow glass art was there, the parishioners had to wear sunglasses to avoid the sun’s glare streaming through the windows. Marcy made posters with a mock-up, including prices for the fifty-six windows. The congregation loved them.
Marcy was unsure how long it would take her to create the large windows and the woman charged with selling them didn’t know how long it would take to sell, so they gave each other three years to complete the project. But, in just one Sunday they were all sold. People who missed that Sunday was upset and bidding wars commenced.
With only one night per week where the windows could be installed with cranes, installation took about a year to complete. Once finished, the transformation was stunning. “People would bring picnic baskets and come to pray and cry under their windows,” remembers Marcy. “It was just beautiful.”
Her husband Bill does all the framing and install work. “He’s big and strong and very good at what he does,” says Marcy. Most of her work is commissioned. Some pieces take months to build in her spacious and colorful home studio.
Marcy also specializes in repairing and rebuilding stained glass in homes. And she offers cleaning services of stained glass for churches. “Nobody else does that,” she says. “It requires a very delicate touch.”
Sometimes clients love her work so much they have Marcy create multiple pieces for them. A few years back, she created a depiction of naked mole rats for a lady who had them as pets. “About five years later, she changes pets to Chinchillas,” says Marcy. “They are just balls of fuzz and I told her I just can’t do chinchillas.” Marcy also created images of the woman’s hospital therapy dogs later on.
One Christmas, several local families had Marcy create their children’s handprints in glass for their grandmothers. One had the five grandkids hands and a special spot – the twinkle in the mother’s eye. “So now the kids know which was their hands and will point them out,” shares Marcy. “The youngest little girl will say, ‘And I am the twinkle.’”
Marcy’s artworks are truly stunning in person. The changing light offers new perspectives on each piece, making the stained glass appear magical. Even the mosaics seem to have a sparkle to them. Marcy’s imagination is endless and, coupled with her over four decades of craftsmanship, her beautiful art is something to behold.