Beverly Albrets grew up going to church and admiring the light streaming through the ornate stained-glass windows. It wasn’t just a window; it was art. She didn’t know much at first about how to make stained glass, but now she’s made a career out of turning glass into art. “If I like something,” she says, “I find a way to do it.”
Tropical Glass Design in Naples specializes in etched, stained and blown glass. The largely self-taught artist works with her husband and one other employee, creating her Chihuly-esque chandeliers, stained-glass windowpanes and much more out of her home studio. Her work is displayed in homes and businesses worldwide, including blown-glass wall art on cruise ships.
Currently, she’s working on a project for a client in Thailand comprising 100 colorful blown-glass discs that will hang from a 21-foot-by-59-foot wall. It will take months to complete, getting done in bits and pieces between other projects.
Originally from Maryland, Albrets relocated to Naples about 30 years ago, mainly for the weather. She was already successful creating stained and etched glass creations before arriving, but quickly started to develop an interest in glassblowing. She connected with a few glass artists in Miami and formed a guild. The University of Miami provided them space with a furnace to practice, and she learned while working with the more experienced glass blowers. “All I knew was that I wanted to blow glass,” she says. “Then I just figured out how to do it.
Trends come and go, but the blown glass remains one of her most popular works. They churn out dozens of projects each year, and Albrets often travels to install them herself. “We’ve always got something going on,” she says with a laugh.