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Jill Reynolds works glass in her studio on Route 8 in Cheshire.
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Some examples of Reynolds' glass artisanship.

Cheshire Glassworks: A Dream Became a Reality

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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Jill Reynolds opened her studio and shop in 2006. 
CHESHIRE, Mass. — Jill Reynolds has been making her dream a reality at her glass studio Cheshire Glassworks, located at 24 South St., across the street from the volunteer fire department. 
The glass blower and artist opened the store in 2006 after a friend suggested it. Although hesitant at first, she shopped around locations unable to find a space she connected with. 
That was until she started to consider a space that she had driven by many times but never considered. Curious about the building, she stopped, looked in, and realized that it was "really cute." 
The building had been available for rent for a while so Reynolds reached out to the landlord who allowed her to move in right away and gave her a good deal.
Reynolds lives in a more rural area in Cheshire so running her business at this location has allowed her to reconnect with its small downtown. 
"Being down here I've reconnected with downtown Cheshire and I get people that stop in all the time that just like seeing the shop they like supporting it. They like seeing a thriving business downtown, which is really cool," she said.
"So I'm proud to have that and I'm proud that I'm from Cheshire and I'm still here making a living doing what I love. I would never in a million years think that I could make a living making my art in Cheshire, so it's been it's pretty cool."
Reynolds began making jewelry in 1994 and took up glass blowing in 2002. She sells handcrafted jewelry featuring her glass beads, sterling silver, seed beads, and precious stones, as well as jars and small figurines. 
As a glass artist, each product that she sells is unique and she describes her aesthetic as "funky, elegant, earthy, unique and totally wearable."
In addition to selling her jewelry and, more recently, paintings, she has also created a space to sell work from other local artists. 
"I've just recently gotten into painting. It's just a lot of fun. A new art that I've totally fallen in love with," she said. "I love having a little space to have other people's work because there's so much talent around here and people don't always have a place to put it where they can sell it and have it on display. So I love having that."
Reynolds hopes to continue what she is doing and is "toying with the idea" of bringing in some other artists, in addition to the ones she is currently working with, to do an art show. 
"I'm always looking for other local artists. I don't have a lot of space, but the space I do have, I like to promote other people. So, I want to do more of that," she said. 
Since opening her store she has developed connections with not only local artists but also the community. 
Regulars who appreciate her craft drop by the shop to give Reynolds cool rocks, and other materials. 
She has been running her business for so long that kids who used to come in with their parents now come to shop as adults.
Reynolds feels very fortunate to have so many patrons who have supported her over the years and shared their experiences on social media. Without them, she would not be where she is today, she said. 
The diverse collection that she houses provides customers a chance to explore, with many lingering for up to an hour. She also will create custom designs, including cremation jewelry.
Reynolds was hesitant at first to make memorial beads, unsure if the ashes would be compatible with the glass. But she agreed to a customer request about a decade ago and has since gotten more comfortable working with it. 
"I have people almost every day coming here getting [cremation] pieces made, but I've fine tuned it," she said. "I figured out how to do it so they always come out really cool. They're really beautiful. ...
"It's a privilege to be able to work with people's loved ones. It's really important and to see them wear it and love the piece so much." 
The hours for Cheshire Glassworks vary; see the Facebook page for updates. Reynolds also has an Etsy page here. Contact her at or 413-743-7828


Tags: artisans & crafters,   glass maker,   

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Adams Free Library Celebrates Refinished Staircases

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

The oak and maple staircases had darkened over the years from use and age, and the treads were worn. 
ADAMS, Mass. — Attorney Emil George was sitting in the conference room at Adams Community Bank last year looking out the window at the Free Library, where he'd once studied as a student.
He thought to himself, "I'm gonna go across the street and just see if they need anything." And so he did. 
The result was the restoration of the elaborate twin staircases in the historic building that hadn't had more than a cleaning in the last 124 years. 
"This library's beautiful stairways have seen much foot traffic over the last century and it was time to see them restored," said Library Director Holli Jayko at Saturday morning's ribbon cutting of the refurbished steps. "We are very thankful for benevolent donors and talented people."
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