published Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Collegedale sisters create business of novelty items

Sisters Jayne Wyche and Montee Giles make glass flowers by gluing fluted bowls to glass plates, which are attached to bottles that fit over a yard stake.
Sisters Jayne Wyche and Montee Giles make glass flowers by gluing fluted bowls to glass plates, which are attached to bottles that fit over a yard stake.
Photo by John Rawlston.
  • photo
    This bird feeder was created from stacked floral vases and plates topped with a bowl.
    Photo by John Rawlston.
    enlarge photo

HOW DO THEY DO THAT?

Sisters Montee Giles and Jayne Wyche said the pieces they sell in their new business, Upcycle Designs by Sassy Sisters, come together this way.

1 Start with a heavy platter, plate or serving piece for a base, then alternately stack round china pieces with flat pieces.

2 Connect the glass with an industrial-strength glue that works on metal, glass, china and wood. It can be purchased at any craft store, said Wyche.

3 The glue is dishwasher-safe, but check the china used to make a serving piece. Delicate antique china or glassware may be too fragile for a dishwasher, and any hand-painted detailing is susceptible to washing off.

4 Use heavy vases and glassware for the bird feeders to help them stand up to any weather condition.

5 Shop thrift stores for big glass bowls. Wyche said they shop locally and in Atlanta for china.

Montee Giles surprised a couple of friends last Christmas with one-of-a-kind, three-tiered serving pieces she made by stacking and gluing assorted pieces of china, cups, candlesticks, crystal plates and goblets.

The tableware was mixed and matched by complementary colors, china patterns, fine china vs. everyday, delicate vintage vs. durable melamine.

Her custom pieces drew compliments, and soon Giles and her sister, Jayne Wyche, were staking out thrift stores in search of surplus china.

"When I retired in June 2011, I had quite a few vases I ended up with because of retirement parties and floral arrangements I was sent," said Wyche. "I thought, 'If you can stack dishes and stemware and candlesticks, why can't I stack bigger pieces and make outdoor art?' "

So the sisters layered floral vases between crystal plates, topping with a bowl, to create totem-like bird feeders. They glued fluted-edged bowls to heavy crystal plates, turned them vertically, and glass flowers blossomed. When staked in the yard, the flowers caught the sun and glittered just like decorative gazing balls.

Upcycle Designs by Sassy Sisters made its debut earlier this fall at a Southern Adventist University flea market. Wyche believes their tepid sales were due to prices that didn't accommodate the bargain prices flea-market shoppers expected ($20-$25 for three-tiered serving pieces, $20-$30 for glass yard art). Their second appearance was at the Gingerbread Shoppe craft show two weeks ago, where they made a respectable profit.

"I thought their work was really pretty and unique," said Red Dueker, Gingerbread Shoppe organizer. "The yard art was unusual, and the serving pieces would be wonderful for parties."

The Sassy Sisters are in the process of developing a website. Until then, they can be contacted by email at figment292@aol.com.

about Susan Pierce...

Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...

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