Stained glass project finds home at school

A craft that Seth Melson learned from his grandfather now has a permanent place at Martin County West High School.

The stained glass “Mavericks” window installed next to the front office is, so far, Melson’s biggest stained glass project.

“I started when I was seven or eight,” Melson said of his stained glass art. “My grandpa wanted to pass on this skill before he went blind. He suffers from macular degeneration … I’m very grateful that he taught this to me.”

Melson, a junior at Martin County West, has done 20 to 30 projects since, mostly lamps and sun-catchers he has given to family and friends. But this summer he went big.

“I needed something for the fair,” he said. “My dad suggested doing a window for the school.”

Melson received some help from Sleepy Eye Stained Glass, where he learned about etching letters by sandblasting them.

“The letters were adapted from a window sticker and we made a pattern,” Melson said. “We had the measurements for the window and used them.”

Melson estimated the entire piece took about 29 hours to complete, drawn out over several weeks in June. Once completed, he entered the piece in the Martin County Fair.

“It won grand champion,” he said.

However, Melson did not send it on to the state fair.

“I didn’t want to transport it to the state fair and take a chance on having it broken,” he said.

Instead, the piece was moved to its new home at the high school.

“I was really worried when they started putting it in, because it looked like it was going to be about 5 inches too short,” Melson recalled. “But it fit perfectly.”

There is even an indication at the bottom with Melson’s name and when the project was created.

“He did a really good job,” said Martin County West High School Principal David Traetow. “It’s a very nice addition to the school.”