Dakota Handcrafters: Ellen Fenner

• Current Hometown: Minot

How would you describe your specialty handcraft?

I create unique and personalized wine glasses and gift items that are fun for everyone, including yourself, on your gift giving list all year long. My handcrafted glittered bottom wine glasses (both stem and stemless) help showcase your favorite color, and add to your table display or just fun to sit by the fireplace or on the patio to enjoy with friends. And who doesn’t love glitter? The glasses are fully immersible and hand washable. I do not recommend using a dishwasher. The fun and sassy sayings on the glasses are cut out of a 6+ year outdoor permanent vinyl, and if taken care of will last for many, many years. The designs come from a variety of sources. Many of the designs are things we hear people say frequently, others are witty things we come up with after consuming a bit of wine (LOL). It is so much fun to come up with different, unique and a bit sassy sayings and designs. Of course, I do not cut logos, such as your favorite NFL or college sports team logo or sayings that are trademarked or copyrighted, as they are protected by copyright law and available at your local retailer.

What or who inspired you to become involved in it?

As a graphic artist and wine enthusiast, my product is a result of two things I truly enjoy! I have always been a “crafty” type of person and I was looking for a hobby that could be productive, fun and not all on the computer screen. Coming up with different sayings and designs and when people see the glasses I have created and smile or laugh at them it feels good knowing that I have brightened their day. It is so much fun to work with a wedding couple as they prepare for one of the biggest days in their lives and their bridal parties love their personalized wine glasses, water bottles, or specialty items that the couple finds for them.

How long have you been doing this type of work?

I have been a graphic artist for over 20 years and a wine enthusiast about the same amount of time. Sassy Glass was officially born in April of this year after a lot of research and trial and error on my end. I started by sharing my wine glasses with friends and family and then realized the business potential and with the help of social media, it just took off from there! To be able to create something that people use and enjoy makes me happy.

Do you do it for your own pleasure or offer it for sale?

Both! It originally started as a hobby, and has grown into a great side business.

Where can we see your handcraft?

Sassy Glass ND on Facebook has many sample items. Besides the images shown through photos, I enjoy working with wedding couples, businesses and I love the “off the wall” unique requests to create custom art and images. I am currently working with a customer who has a handwritten message from a loved one that has passed away. We are going to incorporate the message into a work of art. Once the design is done, they can have the image put on wine glasses, picture frames, artwork, the sky is the limit! You can find me frequenting the area craft and vendor shows in the Minot area and beyond!

Is your handcraft available for sale and if so, where?

Yes. I can be found at various craft shows, vendor shows and Peddlers Markets both in and outdoors in the Minot area. A simple message via Facebook to Sassy Glass ND is a great way to connect with me and start your order. My next show is Nov. 17 at the Peddler’s Market in the Minot Municipal Auditorium.

Have you taught others your handcraft and if so, would you be willing to teach it to others?

I have had a few friends and family help me with the process, and they admit it is more work and tedious work than they are interested in. For me it is an outlet of creativity and I get lost for hours in my studio.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in the Devils Lake area and upon high school graduation (from DLHS) I had planned on coming to Minot for hair design school, however my senior year I took a graphic arts class (as an easy A) and my instructor came to me and said, “You could do this for a living.” My immediate response to him was, “This is too much fun to get paid to do!” So I went to college at NDSCS in Wahpeton to receive my AAS in Graphic Design, moved to Minot and worked in copy centers and commercial printing until 2011 when I returned to college at Minot State University to pursue a BS in Marketing, graduating in 2014. Since then I have worked as a tour guide and am currently the executive director of the Minot Symphony Orchestra. I enjoy working with the musicians, patrons and supporters of the symphony, and this position allows me to utilize both of my degrees and experience. I am a proud mother of a daughter who is completing her degree of music education and will begin her career as an elementary music teacher in January. She is also very talented and creative in many ways. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with family, friends, and my fur-baby Macy, playing board games, cards, watching movies and traveling to discover new things.