Stained Glass Is Day's Day Job

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By night, his voice cuts through the silence. By day, his hands skillfully cut through glass.

Fritz Day, a graveyard dispatcher for the Gila County Sheriff's Department, is about to turn a 10-year hobby into a small cottage business.

Day took up the art of stained glass while living in Arvada, Colo. where he served as a lieutenant for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department.

Day and his wife, Kathe Stander, had their sights set on retirement in Payson. However, they moved earlier than planned when Stander was transferred to Phoenix three years ago. The two built a steel-frame home complete with a 1,500-square-foot workshop/garage where they create their works of art. The garage also houses Day's pride and joy, a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Aire.

Day's stained glass hobby has, in his words, "taken on a life of its own," as the demand for his work became greater.

While living in Colorado, Day became fascinated with the art of stained glass. He read a "how to" book and began dabbling. After making several items, he finally enrolled in a class.

Before long friends were making requests and the projects got bigger. The largest piece Day and Stander created was a 5-foot-square rendition of Havasu Falls for some friends in Phoenix.

"It has become a conversation piece in their home," Day said. "They redesigned their living room. Instead of the TV being the focus, the stained glass which looks to the south is."

Day's work is now in homes in Florida, Colorado, California, as well as Arizona.

Day said he loves to work with the buyer to determine pattern and colors. "All of the work is custom. They pick the design and the glass so they get exactly what they want," Day said. "Or they can bring me a pattern and we will brainstorm from there."

The demand for his work prompted Day to obtain a tax stamp which enables him to purchase his glass from a wholesaler in Phoenix. The demand also led Day to open the soon-to-be cottage business out of his home.

"It's a fun hobby that's become a business," Day said. "There's an excellent market for stained glass, with all the new homes in the area. It's a great way to show off a house."

Meanwhile, Day has no intention of giving up his night job answering phones and dispatching deputies.

"I love working for the sheriff's office," he said, "and the graveyard shift is what I prefer."

Those interested in Day's work can contact him or his wife Kathe at 472-9226.

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