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Gillian Thompson of Gillian Thompson Glass

Meet Gillian Thompson, founder of Gillian Thompson Glass, a stained glass studio.

How did you start your business?

It was a natural progression for me after working in a stained glass studio for 15 years. I started at the bottom and worked my way up. I was ready to take on new challenges and to grow as an artist, so I began to build my client base from a home studio, which I quickly outgrew. A studio space was available In the Anchor building on Spring Grove Avenue and I have been there for about four and a half years now.

How did you come up the idea for your business?

It was a no-brainer. I love sparkly shiny things and color! Really, it is hard work and I enjoy the different facets of it, repairing and restoring the historic windows of Cincinnati or meeting with clients and custom designing new stained or beveled glass. It is very rewarding.

What resources here did you take advantage of and how did they help?

Right off the bat I went to SCORE, which is a good program that's perfect for more traditional types of businesses, but seemed to pass over the challenges which a DIY studio artist comes across and needs to address a little more creatively. I had read about Springboard and signed up for it this past winter. The clear language and solid structure of the course was just what I needed to focus and refresh the business side of things. It was so inspiring to be in a room full of other people who were pursing their dreams as well!

What inspires you?

Delight, my friends, nature, trains, music of all types, especially live performance (you may see me at the Caucoustic concerts or over at the Northside Tavern or MOTR catching a band). I often listen to music while I work.

What’s next for you and your company?

I just wrapped up one of the most exciting and important projects of my career -- the conservation of four Tiffany windows. I worked in collaboration with the excellent conservation department at the Cincinnati Art Museum, where the panels are now on permanent display along with a video demonstrating the techniques used during the project.

Interview by Robin Donovan

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