Angarola's story begins with a barrel of broken glass in a Chicago alley.
Living in the city, he would cut through the alley on his way home from work. Every time he passed by, he
noticed the barrel, sitting outside the rear door of an adjacent building.
"I couldn't stand it," he said. "I just had to take it."
The Murphysboro artist, who has dropped his given name of "Bob" and passed it on to his canine companion, has come a long way from that alleyway.
Completely self-taught, he's now a master of the stained-glass medium including large, decorative windows for Southern Illinois churches and homes. Since moving to Southern Illinois a few years back, commissioned entryway windows for private residences has been the focal point of his work.
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Angarola begins the process by
determining a customer's needs and desires, such as the size of the window, the direction it will face and whether the piece is meant for practical or aesthetic purposes. After the basics are determined, the artist turns to design, making sketches based on a customer's preferences. That becomes the backbone of the project's foundation.
"Sometimes the longest part of the process is finding out what they want to do," he said, noting that window designs can range from simple, yet elegant, to extremely elaborate.
In addition to these bigger-scale projects, he works with specialty lighting and stained-glass lamps for home or business.
Angarola invites not only customers, but also guests, into his studio. A sign on the door lets people know when he's working. And, when he's doing so, his doors are always open. But, visitors need to be cautioned, as well.
"The work is very, very tedious, and I'm by myself," he said. "Sometimes, when people walk in the door, I talk their arms and legs off. I don't get the chance to talk to people much."