Dragonfly Art Studio
Stained glass artist Mellisa Till and her mother/partner Sophie Clowson peer out between some of her dragonflies created at Dragonfly Art Studio in Mineola.
PHOTO BY TOM GEDDIE
Melissa Till claims to have been a “normal working person” for 20 years before she found out that the glass wasn’t half full, but wholly fulfilling.
Today, as she has for the past seven or so years, Melissa spends her time making and selling glass dragonflies, custom stained glass windows, and more in her Dragonfly Art Studio in downtown Mineola. It’s a partnership with her best friend and mother, Sophie Crowson.
“I got a gift, a stained glass mirror, when I was about 12 years old from an uncle who had made it,” Melissa said. “I was so fascinated he made it with his own hands. I wanted to learn how to do that, and by trial and error I did.”
“Oh, goodness, I don’t know,” she said. “They’re such serene little creatures, little free spirits floating around.”
She’s always used the dragonfly in her studio name, and when she got to Mineola in 2004 with her husband Robert she found “hoards of dragonfly collectors. I never knew there so many people who collected dragonflies. Some of them have, like, tattoos they want to show me. It’s weird,” she said, laughing. “It’s a good weird.”
Glass was a hobby for Melissa for about 18 years before the move to Mineola from Arlington.
“I was a normal working person at American Airlines for about 20 years, working on the website for the last seven years,” she said. “I gave up all the organization thing because, I decided, I only live once and if I’m going to do it I need to do it now.
“My mom and I have always wanted to have our own shop and talked about it for years. It’s a hard way to make a living, but there’s beautiful peace of mind if you love what you’re doing and can make a small living at it.”
She and Robert bought 140 acres in nearby Hainesville.
“We needed to kinda get out of the hustle and bustle and going 90 miles an hour all the time,” she said. “We go to Tyler and Longview a couple of times a month to get a city fix.”
Dragonfly Art Studio also carries glass mosaics, jewelry, yard art, a few paintings by friends, and more.
“Everything we have in the shop except the paintings is handcrafted by four hands – mine and my mom’s. We don’t do consignment.
“We do custom stained glass, a lot of floral and similar patterns and anything Victorian or Texas-related. I love working on big pieces like oversize windows – as big as my table will let me work, which is probably four by five feet or so max.”
Melissa also helped create the Mineola Gypsy Market, which will be October 8 this year.
“We basically block off N. Johnson and have live entertainment on a stage at one end, kids’ activities at the other end, and about 40 booths in between. We’re trying to make it 100% artisan booths, and are close to doing that.”
Dragonfly Art Studio is at 105 N. Johnson. Hours are generally Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., although Melissa invokes that “hustle and bustle” thing from time to time and closes earlier or stays open later.
And on weekends when the weather is good and “when all my cards fall right,” Melissa and her mom sometimes pull an old hot dog cart onto the sidewalk and sell hot dogs, nachos, chili dogs, and Frito pies to a bunch of regulars and other visitors who “sit around and try to solve the world’s problems. It’s a lot of fun,” she said.