Artisan Profile: Learning the Tricks of the Trade

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From uninformed apprentice to talented craftsmen – and still learning – Miguel Limones recently celebrated 5 years with us. He came to Stanton Studios knowing nothing about the craft, having been working as a waiter at a local restaurant. 5 years later, he has his hands on nearly everything in our studio, executing skillful work with attention to detail and creativity.

We recently sat down with Limones and asked him about his journey learning a new skill-set.

How did you get involved with Stanton Studios?

When I first started working at Stanton Studios, my friend Kevin Lemus was already working here. At the time I was working at Cotton Patch Café as a server, and I really wanted to do something in the creative, artistic world. I loved art and all my art classes and was very intrigued by it. I thought that would be something I would love to do. [Kevin] said they had a position available if I wanted it. As soon as I got here, they were like, “lets get to work.” That’s how my first day began on September 15, 2011. As soon as I got up here, it was straight to work.

What exactly do you do?

I would say I’m definitely more of a floater. I jump from job to job. I can jump from building a stained glass window, grouting a window or going on an installation. Wherever I’m needed is where I go.

What inspired you to learn this trade?

They showed me everything from day one. I started working in the mudroom and learned the entire grouting process. I was always asking questions and making sure things were up to par and company standards. They would show me exactly what they were looking for and I would be able to replicate it time and time again. Eventually, I created my own system that worked just as well.

“I like creating, but to me there’s something about the restoring process that makes an old window come back to life that I love.”

What was your experience like learning how to build windows for the first time?

My experience was both exciting and frustrating. Because I was like, “I can do this I can do this…why am I not getting this?” It looks so simple, but even the simple cuts can be the most complex cuts. So, it just took time and patience to get it right. Everyone was willing to help me jump on board. When Ingrid was here, she would show me how to do a few cuts. Samuel would help me out quite a bit in the process. Every now and then Tim would show me things. Jordan was probably my biggest help in learning how to build. Bryant would jump in and teach me little random tricks. It definitely helped.

What was your first project?

I actually can’t remember my first [official] project. I do remember it was a restoration project. The first side project I did was building a sun-catcher for my mom. That was one of the first ones I did, and it turned out absolutely great. The grape window was the second window I built on the side. My friend Colby Humphreys asked me to build it for his mom for Mother’s Day and as a birthday present. I got permission from Bryant and was able to create the design. Bryant came in and tweaked it a little bit and told me a few things about how to make the grapes well. Jordan went in after and put it to scale, plotted it out for me and did exactly what I needed. Then I went down and did the rest. It was a lot of after-hours work. I probably put in 40+ hours on that project.

Have you had to learn from mistakes, if so, how did you overcome them and what did you learn?

There were times I broke a few pieces of glass that were extremely valuable. But they’d tell me it’s ok and show me how to fix it and work with copper foil and show me how to bend the lead and cut the glass. [I had] to understand that glass just breaks. It’s fragile. When I was working with Nathan [in the woodshop] and learning the sanding process, he would show me how to use the sander and let the sander do the work. All I had to do was guide it.

Do you feel like you still have a lot to learn?

There’s always more to learn. 5 years in, I’m still learning new things all the time. Every day is a learning experience.

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Here is a photo of one of Limones’s first side projects he completed for a friend.

What are three pieces of advice you would give to someone who is interested in learning a new skill? 

1. Just do it. Go out there and find the passion and skill you want to learn and work on it. Learn the craft, learn the skill.

2. Read about it. I spent days just reading about how to actually build and watched YouTube clips on how to build.

3. Have a good time. That’s what it’s all about. Being able to be creative.

What ignites creativity in you?

The one thing that helps me out the most is when I listen to worship music while I work because I feel like God has given us the ability to create. So, being able to listen to worship music and people who are creative gets me into that place of creativity.

We place high value on our work and craftsmanship, ensuring our clients receive quality stained glass designs. If you are interested in working on us with your next stained glass project, please contact us.

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