Deb Spalding

Husband and wife duo, Sharon and Russ Rowland of Woodsboro operate two glass businesses out of the former CVS store space in the Thurmont Plaza on North Church Street in Thurmont. Sharon operates Art In Glass and Russ operates Rowland Glass Studios. The couple moved the businesses into the space from Frederick in February 2017.

Sharon was a registered nurse when she took her first stained glass class in 1978, and she has been doing it ever since. By 1986, she had turned the hobby into a full-time career from her basement. The business was moved several times over the years, and when the economy shrunk in 2009, the business shrunk with it. Since then, the glass business has grown and they’ve adjusted.

Russ left a lawn care business when he met his wife and fell right into the glass business. He went to work for a custom glass company and ran that until 2014 when the opportunity to purchase the business was presented. Rowland Glass Studios was born.

Sharon’s Art in Glass business completes commissioned stained glass projects and various special artistic techniques for commercial and residential decorative glass use or for gallery pieces and jewelry.

Since 1998, Rowland Glass Studios has been creating elegant, custom-etched tempered, laminated and annealed architectural design in glass. The Rowlands do just about anything to decorate glass and mirrors from sand blasted printed film, efficiency film, security film, or reflective film applied for decoration as well as providing other benefits like reducing heat, adding security, and controlling light. Russ said, “Architectural glass has the power to transform a space from ordinary to extraordinary.” It’s also a popular alternative to tiles and laminates.

The artistic effects are applied to different types of glass, but it doesn’t interfere with integrity of the glass. New edge-lit signs introduce light from bottom or sides creating unique effects. The Rowlands recently completed a job where edge-lighting was used in conjunction with dichroic film—looks one color one way and another color the other way—to mimic the Northern Lights. Dichroic film was developed for NASA to reflect light and heat in space shuttles. The film was quickly recognized as a material that could be effectively used in glass.

Russ said, “We start with a sheet of clear glass and then sand blast it and put effects on it. We take it from the beginning to a finished product.”

Fused glass and glass blowing are Sharon’s passions. She just finished a class in a new three-dimensional technique that allows you to have glass without an opening. The technique was invented by a professor in Philadelphia.

Sharon gave a tour of the new shop, offices, and gallery showroom. In the showroom, she is displaying pieces for purchase that are cute and “kitschy” like bottle cheese boards, jewelry, paw prints, dishes, and paper weights.

You can view completed Rowland projects at the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the McGowan Center at Mount St. Mary’s University, in bus shelters in Arlington, Virginia, and in private residences throughout the region.

For more information about Art In Glass or Rowland Glass Studios, please visit their showroom, offices, and workshop in the Thurmont Plaza Shopping Center at 224 A West Church Street in Thurmont, call 240-568-9135, or visit

Pictured are Russ and Sharon Rowland, owners of Art In Glass and Rowland Glass Studio in Thurmont.

Share →