Kids and adults alike are busy learning at Under the Sun. The Leduc art studio is the first of its kind in Canada, offering both accredited and non-accredited options in skills such as stained glass, kiln, glass casting, torch, lampworking, and glassblowing.
Owner Chandell Popik is no stranger to teaching. She’s been involved in education for many years, including helping with literacy efforts in third world countries. One of her favorite projects is the Belize Literacy Project, which she worked on for over 10 years with other Alberta teachers to improve education in developing countries.
Her love for glass art began in childhood – Chandell’s grandmother made stained glass and taught her many skills as a young girl. She played the role of assistant, grinder girl, wash girl, fitting girl, and sweeping girl until she was old enough to advance to making the pieces themselves.
Now, she is teaching the Leduc community what her grandmother taught her. While she does visit nearby schools at times, she prefers when students take field trips to her Leduc art studio to learn from her. “We can do so much more with the kids [at the studio]. It requires a lot of different specialized tools and equipment in order to manufacture and design and build a lot of things. There’s a lot of math and chemistry behind working with glass; it’s one of the most exciting and challenging materials to work with,” she said. The students get a diverse, hands-on experience in the different types of glasswork because the studio has all the necessary equipment. Together, they create beautiful pieces that are gifted to their schools.
Chandell’s favourite part of what she describes as “knowledge translation” is the people she meets daily and the friendships that are born out of working with these people. One such raving fan is Inside Leduc host, Tarah Flynn, whose family discovered a new love for glass art. During their visit to the studio, her children enjoyed learning new skills, seeing the various art on display, and learning more about the raw materials that go into making the pieces.
Under the Sun is thriving, and Chandell is happy she didn’t listen to any of the pushback she received when she first started her business. But she admitted that along the way, she experienced some discouragement. “Wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say that there were some times that I thought, ‘I don’t think I can get this done or pull it off.’ But then I just did a little self-talk. I thought, ‘Look – you’ve got this; just stay the course. There’s a lot of other things that are lining up in your favor.’ There’s nothing better than proving everybody wrong!”
Thanks to that self-talk, she now has a unique and fun business that’s helping to put the Leduc community on the map. She has received a lot of positive feedback over the years and has listened to the Leduc community in what they would like to see. For example, she ended up implementing date nights and mini workshops for those who just want to dip a toe in the vast ocean of glasswork.
You can hear more about Chandelle’s journey as a Leduc art studio owner by listening to her chat with Inside Leduc host, Tarah Flynn, on her MONTH episode. Tarah, who is also a Realtor, investor, and coach, created the podcast to introduce small businesses to the Leduc community. If you need assistance creating the life you desire, contact Tarah to see how she can help you.