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Local People

 

By Miranda Startare

The proverbial saying, "Necessity is the mother of invention," certainly explains many discoveries and breakthrough products, including one designed by Juan Rodriguez, owner of Rodriguez Art Glass Studio in Monongahela.

Rodriguez
Rodriguez Art Glass Studio owner Juan Rodriguez with the glass cutting device he created in the basement of his studio.

 

Rodriguez, who teaches classes in art glass creation at his studio on Main Street, recently found himself in need of an easier way to cut glass than the standard tool. A student in his class was having difficulty manipulating the hand tool, which requires a pencil-like grip and precise hand motions, and was frustrated with not being able to complete her project.

Rodriquez, with the help of his wife, Judy Soccio, both wanting to provide a solution to the student's problem, invented a device that allows the designer to utilize a foot pedal with a chain lever attached to the cutting tool at table level. The designer never has to hold the tool – simply use the foot pedal.

The idea came rather quickly to Rodriguez, who says, "it only took me two minutes to come up with the idea."

He and his wife worked on building the prototype for the device in the basement of their home and businesses. Soccio is also a business owner, operating Soccio Window Treatments by Judy Soccio Design.

The foot-operated glass cutter Rodriguez calls the "Tiffany EZ Cut Glass Station" has also helped Rodriguez himself to ease the strain on his body due to long hours working on his many glass projects.

Rodriguez is eager to share his new invention and his 30 years of glass design expertise with interested students at his next session of stained glass classes being offered later in the summer.

The classes are great for beginners, according to Rodriguez, who offers two designs for students to choose to create, including a beautiful Art Nouveau design, called Mackintosh Rose, by Scottish designer Rennie Mackintosh.

Students will learn the procedures of using glass cutting tools and various cuts necessary to created stained glass pieces.

The classes will be held at Rodriguez Art Glass Studio at 715 West Main Street in Monongahela for three hours every Sunday for a four-week session. Enrollment is usually limited to six to eight students, and the class dates will be announced later.

Rodriguez hopes to help others find their creative outlet in the glass studio as he has, and is always delighted to see the progress of his students over the years.

"We have many talented artists in the Monongahela area," according to Rodriguez, who is excited to begin the next series of classes.

Anyone with questions regarding the upcoming classes can reach Juan Rodriguez at his studio at 724-258-5787.

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