SEATTLE — Seattle is a city of glass - but Chilhuly isn't the only name in town. Unique Art Glass is a family-run business that's been beautifying Washington since 1989.
Mark Olson founded the company and runs it with his family, including his wife Terre Olson and son Zack Olson. They create stained glass, etched glass and other creations for homes, places of worship, and other businesses.
"I've had plenty of customers actually cry when they see it," says Mark Olson. "The gratification is huge. You can't beat it in that way. You get paid for a job you really love, people really love that you did the job, and there's always something new happening in this industry."
"My passion is glass, my passion is art, and I love it," Mark says. "And Zach is the same. It takes the passion."
It takes passion, and a lot of work. Each project takes anywhere from three to eight weeks, depending on the size and complexity. Mark, Zack and the rest of the crew work closely with clients, ensuring their glass creation is what they envision.
"The idea is that the windows are going to last longer than myself or anyone who purchases them," Zack says. "We build our pieces to last."
Their projects fit together almost like a puzzle, secured with lead pipe channeling, also known as "came".
"Glass is a particular thing with design, you have to work with the glass as much as it works with you," Zack says. "It's a great teacher of patience. I'm still learning that."
Zack has honed his patience over the years thanks to his dad.
"It's not lost on me how lucky I am to be in this place," Zack says. "To have someone as patient and loving as my dad, who can pass that on."
Glass isn't an easy business - no art is an easy business. But when a piece is finished and reaches its home -
"Sometimes it can be emotional like my dad said," says Zack Olson. "We're in the business of creating something special for people for the rest of our lives."
It's worth it. Especially when you have family working alongside you.