“It gives people a sense of pride and seeing how happy they are is great for me,” Newman said.
A child of a calm nature, art gave him an outlet. With an uncle who was a professional artist as his inspiration, drawing was a favorite activity when his grandparents visited.
Her first big accomplishment was winning a sidewalk chalk drawing contest at the Warder Public Library when she was in second grade. She would soon begin classes at the Springfield Museum of Art, where she was often the youngest student, continuing the activity until she was a student at Shawnee High School.
“I would take any class in Springfield,” Newman said. “The Art Museum was a great place to learn. I took everything: pottery, ceramics, oil painting, watercolour, drawing.
A job at Gates Brothers Glass drew Newman to the art of stained glass, loving the process.
“I like being able to get into that zone and do pretty things,” she said.
Coming from a family of educators, Newman chose to pursue teaching in college. She considered being an art teacher in schools, but the uncertainty of those programs being cut led her to focus on other areas.
She taught English Language Arts at Simon Kenton Elementary in Springfield, but still managed to bring her artistic interest into the classroom. Newman would build up a clientele, including several of his students, having second jobs on weeknights and weekends, where the classroom experience helped teach the art.
The satisfaction of teaching art and the challenges of teaching school during the pandemic got Newman thinking about his future. She used her stimulus checks to buy 20 soldering irons, signaling some sort of commitment.
“I had to make a decision,” she said.
Another stimulation came from driving through London and seeing a sign for sale in a beautiful, old, empty building. This clinched the decision to stop teaching and engage in his art.
La Petite Pomme, which is French for the little apple, a nod to Newman’s educational roots, will offer a variety of classes and workshops, including mosaic, calligraphy, painting and, of course, the stained glass, encouraging people to create beautiful works.
Newman also plans to continue teaching in the area when possible.
“I always thought it would be great to have my own studio to do something that doesn’t feel like a job and help people create,” she said.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/LaPetitePommeGlassworks