2018 Nominee Ten: Studio Arts & Glass

It’s a story as old as time, with a twist. Boy meets girl in a downtown bar. He’s an artist, she’s a business student. They both love handmade things and start a business where she sells what he makes. The business grows and they marry. Four dogs soon follow. They all work happily ever after in a big steel building with a hand-crafted neon sign and great highway visibility.

Studio Arts & Glass began in a dimly lit bar off Court Street in downtown Canton. There, Bob Joliet met Wendy Warren. Bob, a banker’s son, was a Fine Arts graduate from Kent State University whose great-grandfather once ran the giant Dueber-Hampden Watch Company where Wendy’s grandmother worked. Talk about coincidence. Wendy was a teacher’s daughter working at a local jewelry store to pay her way through school. They fit together like pieces of a complex puzzle.

By the time they met, Bob had turned his artistic talents to making stained glass art. Wendy loved to sell and was soon taking orders for more than Bob could make, so they opened an arts and gift store to sell the work of other artists, as well. Bob kept creating stained glass works in his downtown studio in an abandoned funeral home.

At age 20, Wendy began cold-calling architects and interior designers many years older. She made it work and word of Bob’s artistic talents spread from job to job. When the areas largest stained glass company fled to Florida, Studio Arts & Glass became the place to go for new stained glass creations and renovations. Using many of the skilled craftsmen the competitor left behind, Studio Arts & Glass began to boom. Heady stuff for a young couple who’d just become partners in marriage as well as business. Together they crafted a professional and personal partnership from delicate stained glass fragments fit together to last a lifetime.

Over the last 40 years the Joliet’s have painstakingly built one of Stark County’s most unique businesses. Their work has found its way to churches, offices and homes in places as far-flung as a Caribbean island only accessible by boat, and a top secret government office deep in a mountain cave. Their art gallery and gift shop is brimming with works by some of the most talented glass artists in America. The Ohio State Capitol building boasts a stained glass Great Seal hand-crafted in their studio. They are meticulously restoring 56 stained glass windows for Green Lawn Abbey in Columbus, one of the states most ambitious renovations. People travel from near and far to attend their workshops. They also offer artistic design, production and installation in one hand-crafted package, making it easy for architects, designers and homeowners to get high-quality, original stained glass windows.

Stored behind their studio are weather-worn stained glass windows rescued from magnificent old buildings. Roaming through the building are four beautiful, large dogs also rescued from places they were no longer wanted. Here they are so beloved the Joliet’s paid a New England craftsman to hand carve a magnificent totem pole with five dogs stacked atop each other, now standing at the entrance to their business.

Together Bob and Wendy Joliet have hand-crafted a life by meshing their individual talents. Bob creates. Wendy sells. A team of master craftsmen build. Nothing is mass produced. Everything they touch is original, crafted by hand, with the passion only found when doing what you love.