After Gregory Drew’s mother passed away in 2015, the retiree enrolled in a stained glass class in Williamsburg as a way to channel his grief.

His passion for the craft grew from that initial class, and Drew has since created countless works of stained glass art. 

Connecting Point’s Brian Sullivan spent the day with Drew in his studio to bring us this next story.

Read the full transcript:

Brian Sullivan, Connecting Point: It’s mid-morning and Gregory Drew is making his way into what is known as “Kiss My Glass Studio One.” 

If there was an adult version of a playroom or a toy box that so many of us had as children, for Drew, this might be it. 

With seemingly every tool and piece of material needed to produce stained glass art at his disposal, this is more than just a playroom. It’s a fortress of solitude.

Gregory Drew, Kiss My Glass Studio One: If you have a studio like I do, you find that when you’re sitting with yourself…all of the worries of the day disappear and you get focused on what you’re doing. 

That opens up your mind for different, creative thoughts to just penetrate your head.

Brian Sullivan: Drew has only been practicing his craft for a little more than six years, but to look around his house, it’s easy to think that this has been a life-long pursuit. One may even wonder, why there is so much of it here?

Pieces like these would very likely be sought after by many people who would pay a pretty penny to have them in their homes. 

Turns out they’ve all got sentimental value.

Gregory Drew: If you have a piece that has 150 pieces in it, you can pick up each piece and spend as much as 20 minutes on one piece of glass within the different phases — cutting, grinding, foiling, soldering — so you get an attachment to it. 

Almost like a child, you  — you grow with that piece and you never wanted to — you never want to part from it. 

So, that’s what happened to me. I make pieces and I just like holding onto them.

Brian Sullivan: We should mention that many of these pieces can take months to produce, which is fine during the final couple of days that it’s being made. 

But even artists need some instant gratification every now and then when their projects leave them feeling like every day is another day of unfinished business. 

Gregory Drew came up with an answer for his quick fix craving: stained glass bow ties. They only take a couple of days to make, and they serve a functional purpose.

Gregory Drew: If you look at them, you might think that they’re just something that is — they’re decorative. But, I take the time to put a band on them, you can actually wear them. 

I personally wear one to church every Sunday. I don’t wear cloth bow ties that I used to tie myself. 

Now, I put on a glass bow tie every Sunday.

Brian Sullivan: The work that Drew does now is a far cry from what he did as an employee of the phone company for 34 years, but the location never changed. 

He’s still right here in the city of Springfield, where he was born and raised.

Now, in a neighborhood that’s only a stone’s throw from Forest Park. Most of Gregory Drew’s neighbors probably have no idea the type of artwork that he produces in his studio. 

And that’s just fine by him. 

His under-the-radar existence allows him to keep doing his art for fun so that it never feels like work.

Gregory Drew: When I initially came up with the name “Kiss My Glass Studio One,” the studio one was added because I thought there might be a studio two, and a studio three, and four, but I’m really doing it for fun and for people who really appreciate someone.

If I see someone who really appreciates something and really are into it, I’m more anxious to want to do something for them because they I know they appreciate it and like it like I do. 

But down the road, I don’t want to really do much more than what I’m doing now.

I just want to putt along the way I’m going.