Back Bay Art Glass: Turning Passion Into a Second Career

Working with glass is a delicate process, one that requires patience and great care. It’s probably not the hobby you’d pick for a retired fugitive detective, but former cop Ace Robinson and his wife, Nancy, found a passion for working with glass kindled years ago. That hobby has turned into a full-time job. 
“It’s all-encompassing while you’re doing it. Years ago, we had an older home with a basement. When the kids were little, they would go up to bed and we’d go down to the basement and start working with glass. We’d be down there jamming to the oldies and one of us would go upstairs to get a drink and come back down and say, ‘It’s 4 a.m., we’ve got to get up in two hours!’ ”
The couple owns Back Bay Art Glass along Rt. 24 near Long Neck. The store sells all kinds of beautiful creations. You can buy glass pictures, bowls, kaleidoscopes or order custom art, the most popular choice for customers. 
Nancy and Ace work closely with customers, helping them choose the best colors and designs for whatever creation they have in mind. Creating one of their glass masterpieces can take several weeks or longer. “It’s tedious, as opposed to difficult. It’s very time consuming,” said Ace. “You have to be really good at jigsaw puzzles,” added Nancy.
The couple’s days are spent drawing and tracing patterns onto paper and then onto glass. The glass used in most of their work isn’t cut by a machine. The glass pieces that create the pictures hanging in the store are hand cut with a special tool. The tool, filled with lubricating oil, scores the glass, which is then carefully broken apart. 
“The hardest part is getting over the fear of breaking the glass. There are a lot of people who have that fear, but once they do it a couple of times, they realize it’s not going to hurt them,” said Nancy.
While most of their projects are small, in 2015 the couple worked to repair sections of stained glass at Indian Mission Church in Sussex County. With 35 years of experience working with glass and nine years in business, the couple also enjoys passing on their knowledge to students of any age.
According to Nancy, “We love this. It’s a good time for us. We love meeting and teaching new people.”
And even if you’re not sure you have an interest in glass artwork, Nancy and Ace said you are still free to stop in, relax and chat with them.
“Everyone is always welcome to come in. We always offer coffee. You do not have to purchase anything to come into the store. We don’t want anyone to feel like they’re obligated to purchase anything when they walk in. And we’ve made a lot of friends that way,” they said.
 

Back Bay Art Glass Images