Delta’s thriving arts community gained two more talented artisans when Dan and Debbie Coble moved to Delta in early 2008. Having raised two sons in Arizona, they decided it was time to downsize and move to Colorado.They closed the stained glass store they operated on the main street of Cottonwood, Ariz., and moved to the Western Slope, where they’d enjoyed many camping trips. They first rented a home in Montrose, but decided that community was a bit too large. A short time later they discovered a home on Leon Street which was smaller, but had a spacious basement where both could pursue their artistic endeavors.
Although they didn’t want to commit themselves to another retail operation, they aren’t ready to retire yet, either. The basement workshop has enough room for Dan to offer stained glass classes to individuals or small groups, for Debbie to set up her sewing machine, and for both to work collaboratively on large stained class projects. In the garage, Dan has set up a woodshop where he turns blocks of woods into bowls, peppermills, rolling pins and other beautiful items.
“Being able to do what we like, and what we’re capable of doing, has been really rewarding,” Debbie said.
For many years Dan worked in a glass business which served auto, home and business owners. In 1978 he was introduced to stained class through a class at Yavapai College. What started out as an enjoyable hobby turned into a profitable business, but left Dan searching for a new hobby.
“I didn’t want to go home and work on more stained glass, after I’d done it all day long, so I took a wood turning class at Yavapai College.”
As with stained glass, Dan discovered he had a flair for creating high quality wood items. After mastering the lathe, he began combining contrasting woods and experimenting with new techniques.
Wood and glass are two basic elements, but each is so diverse, the possibilities are limited only by imagination. And Debbie and Dan both have healthy doses of imagination.
Dan is intrigued by the hidden possibilities within each block of wood. Glass is just as amazing, with an incredible variety of colors, patterns and textures.
“It’s amazing the effects you can get with all the different types of glass,” said Dan, pointing to a piece of blue water glass which is remarkable in its similarity to the gentle waves in a stream. It’s the perfect piece to complete the visual image of a duck paddling through the water.
Whether you use a pattern from a book, or create your design, like Debbie and Dan, you can put your own spin on a piece of stained glass through your choice of glass.
“The process of choosing the right glass can be really challenging, but the outcome is always beautiful,” said Debbie, who is described as the artist in the family. She’s the one who works with home or business owners to capture their vision in a design which both she and Dan will execute.
“It’s interesting because you think you’ve got an idea about which piece of glass you’re going to put in there,” Debbie said. “But once you get to that process, and start cutting that piece of glass, you think wait a minute, here’s another piece that might work.”
Finding the right mix of color and texture for a piece of stained glass is one of the most satisfying aspects of the project for both Debbie and Dan.
Dan finds the same enjoyment in turning a piece of wood. “You can look at a 2x4 from the outside and there’s nothing, but on the inside . . .” he said, picking up a piece of aspen with a beautiful grain. He found himself wondering how plywood would look in a turned bowl. It, too, was surprisingly beautiful.
You can see the Cobles’ projects at the Creamery Arts Center in Hotchkiss and the AppleShed Gallery in Cedaredge, or online at www.coblestainedglass.com. Dan and Debbie also welcome calls at (970) 901-8617 for anyone who’d like to learn more about classes, commissions or repairs.