ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Jodi Chemes’s workshop showcases two of her biggest passions. On the floor of a hallway sit two large, rescued greyhounds. In the adjacent workspace, there’s glass everywhere, in all sizes, colors and textures.
"I've always tried to figure out how to implement my skills into the issues that I care about in the world," Chemes said.
The St. Pete resident has been doing stained glass work for eight years. Her company is called Glass Of Life.
"You have to really like working with your hands. It’s a lot like coloring or putting a puzzle together," she said.
She started because a group of friends wanted to take a class. The group ended up not going, but Chemes did. She has been hooked ever since, saying she is fulfilled by watching a piece go from start to finish.
She especially likes how the light can drastically affect how a piece looks.
In her workshop on a Wednesday afternoon, Chemes transitions from cutting, scoring, sawing, grinding and placing pieces of glass on a printed pattern. On this day, she was working on a garden scene for a friend.
On one of the workshop walls, there’s a finished piece featuring two greyhounds.
"It became a hobby that I use to fundraise for animal welfare organizations," she said.
Chemes donates a gift certificate worth $300 to various animal non-profits. The organization auctions off the gift certificate, and the winner chats with Chemes about what kind of art they would like.
Naturally, pets are the number one request.
"It’s really rewarding to see someone’s [pet] picture be transformed into a different medium," Chemes said.
Chemes estimates that she’s made around 50 pet portraits, and she doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon.