The Man Behind ‘Golden Glass’

Ron Golden was a butcher by profession, but in retirement is a stained glass artist with a garage studio.
Photo courtesy of Diana Golden

Ron Golden is a friend. He is married to a woman who formerly worked with my husband in Chicago. In April of 2015, Ron and Diana Golden, fans of Las Vegas, moved to the Centennial Hills area of Las Vegas. Last week, I finally visited their home and got a closer look at Ron’s hobby of some 22 years, the making of stained glass art pieces.

A butcher by trade and now retired, Ron has always liked occupying his spare time creatively. For many years he was a woodworker specializing in country-style shelves, coat racks, etc., even selling his pieces at local craft shows. When his interest in woodworking dimmed, he took classes at a local Chicago store selling items to stained glass hobbyists. Ron Golden, the stained glass artist, was born.

Ron describes the process of making stained-glass pieces as requiring the right equipment, a steady hand, an eye for color, an encouraging spouse and plenty of patience. Each piece can have many very small, very intricate pieces of glass that must be perfectly cut to fit into the final design

Among Ron’s precisely made pieces displayed in his home is this depiction of the divine stallion Pegasus, from Greek mythology.
Photo by Diane Taylor

Though the Goldens have led a very active life in Las Vegas, attending shows and attractions all over the valley, Ron still finds five or six hours several days a week to work on his hobby. Some pieces can take just a couple of days to complete; other pieces can take several weeks. Ron says the sense of accomplishment, particularly when finishing a new piece, makes all the time spent worth it. (Ron typically listens to “oldie” music stations while working.)

Ron buys the supplies for his art from Glass Art Studio Inc. in Las Vegas. He pays $10 to $45 per foot for each piece of stained glass. In addition to the glass (the same kind of glass used in Tiffany lamps), his hobby requires two copies of patterns (either patterns purchased in magazines for hobbyists or created by Ron), scissors, an exacto knife, glass cutters, a soldering iron, solder, foil, flux, a grinder and occasionally bandaids for slight wounds to the hands. (The glass, before grinding, can be sharp.)

Ron uses two drawings of a new art piece. He cuts out the individual pieces from one of the drawings to form the patterns used to cut glass as he is doing here. The second pattern is laid under the final piece to allow the new puzzle to be completed.
Photo by Diane Taylor

Ron’s two children, Ronnie and Jeff, and Diana’s sons, Scott and Steven, and their families all have pieces made by Ron. The Goldens’ Las Vegas home is also filled with Ron’s stained glass pieces. Though most of Ron’s creations are made to catch the sun, they are not leaded pieces (replacements for windows), but are “foiled” pieces (hung in front of windows) still catching the sun, but moveable from room to room.

“The problem,” says Diana, “is that we’ve run out of windows and for Ron to keep doing his art, we’ve decided to display his art for sale at one or two craft shows this year.” A business card, made by Diana, calls Ron’s business “Golden Glass”. Prices for the pieces will range from $10 to $300 depending on the size and complexity of the piece, but mostly the Goldens just hope others will appreciate the pieces Ron has created.

Another of Ron Golden’s stained glass pieces features this eagle.
Photo by Diane Taylor
This desert scene exactly covers one of the windows in the Goldens’ home. (Yes, the piece is moveable.)
Photo by Diane Taylor
This Golden Knights piece, made by Ron, was taken to a recent Golden Knights fan fest in downtown Las Vegas and signed by 14 of the players on hand.
Photo by Diane Taylor
A wizzard and bunches of flowers decorate this window in the Goldens’ home.
Photo by Diane Taylor

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