Prairie Art Glass is Topeka’s Fun Factory
When you walk into Prairie Glass it’s easy to slip away from reality, taking refuge in a world of creativity. I don’t have an artistic bone in my body but shop owner Kymm Ledbetter immediately makes you feel special and instills a sense of confidence in you that leaves you feeling like you can be as creative as you allow yourself to be.
Kymm has always been an artist but when she picked up a piece of raw fused glass several years ago, she knew that medium would be her calling. Fast forward to today, and her creations can be found all over the world, literally. From here in the United States to Europe and yes, even China, patrons are enjoying her work! Kymm is a modest person for sure but to brag just for a moment, she has been nominated for numerous awards during her tenure at Prairie Glass including a nomination for a Small Business Award this year and also a 2017 nominee as a Woman of Influence.
I’m going to chase a rabbit for a moment ( if you know me well, you know that I chase rabbits on a daily basis). Most shop owners are so busy, you typically get a hurried greeting and then their off to completing a task that you interrupted upon arrival.
Kymm had never met us when we strolled into her studio on a Friday morning a few weeks ago. She didn’t engage us immediately because we were greeted by her friend Cathy who happened to be there that day. As we visited with Cathy to learn more about Prairie Glass, Kymm emerged from the back of the shop to say hello.
She listened intently as we shared our story of how we ended up in Topeka on this nomadic journey of ours. When we commented on how unique her work was and showed an interest in taking a class, she instantly calmed any fears and lack of confidence we exhibited in being able to create something out of her fused glass that we could appreciate upon completion.
What happened next took us completely by surprise! Kymm invited us to have dinner with her and her family. Now it’s been awhile since we had complete strangers over for a meal. Come to think of it, I can’t recall the last time we did.
Initially I thought, “well, we talk funny being from Tennessee, so she just wants to hear us butcher the English language over a home cooked meal”. Kidding! She and her family (husband Brett, son Jake, and daughter Rachel) could not have been more welcoming. They prepared a wonderful meal and we spent the next two hours just sharing and getting to know each other around their dinner table. Now who does that? I jokingly asked her daughter Rachel near the end of our visit if she had grilled her mom about hosting complete strangers, and she admitted that she had done just that. You go Rachel! I would have done the same thing.
Okay, so back to Prairie Glass. Thank you Mr. Rabbit for indulging me! If you are reading this post and you are new to Topeka, considering a visit, or you’re a long time resident of the community and have never ventured in for a visit, I hope you take a few minutes on your next trip to the downtown area and see for yourself just how special Prairie Glass and Kymm are! (If Mrs. Vineyard, my 6th grade English teacher was still alive, she would call that a Run on Sentence, Whew!) At Prairie Glass, you will be free to wander, admire and perhaps even sign up for a class. That’s next on our bucket list!