Christina Lake artist finds fans in Hollywood

Cindy Alblas spent a day mingling with celebrities and offering them stained glass art last month

Christina Lake artist Cindy Alblas, right, poses with television star Robin Thomas, who has acted in shows like Bones, Blue Bloods, 24 and Transparent. (Photo submitted)

Cindy Alblas’s hands were trembling as she watched her three suitcases carrying 130 handmade stained glass picture frames rumble down the airport conveyor belt. Months of fragile work – destined for Hollywood.

Alblas, of Cindy Diane Designs, has been creating stained glass art for nearly 30 years – since she was a high school student in Southern Ontario.

“I loved Lite-Brite when I was a kid,” Alblas said. “I would sit in the room with the lights off for hours playing with Lite-Brite, so I think I’ve just always had a connection with colour and it’s something that resonates with me.”

In the artisan town of St. Jacobs, which is renowned for its cultivation of world-class talent, Alblas began cutting, grinding, soldering and polishing glassworks. Ten years ago, she brought her skills to Christina Lake.

But from small town Canada, Alblas found herself sharing her craft with the names of Hollywood last month, during the Emmy festivities in Los Angeles. Along with Christina Lake native Dan Walker, a silversmith who splits his time between the Boundary and the Comox Valley on Vancouver island, Alblas was invited to a celebrity gift room event.

The gift rooms work like guided artist market tours. Celebrities, like four-time NBA champion John Salley, are escorted around a room of vendors. Everyone from artists to chefs and tourism reps wait and greet each tinseltown visitor with a gift.

“It’s all about those photos that you’re bringing home,” said Boundary resident Annette McArthur, who has been involved with coordinating gift room events for more than 20 years, about why artists are interested in attending. “Then you’re able to say, ‘Well, look at some of the cool people that have tried my product, whether it’s a soap or shampoo or anything in between.” Like stained glass, silver jewelry and soup.

One vendor that McArthur found had created a dried vegan soup – a sort of “just add water” creation. But when the weekend came, the dried packages that they’d shipped to Los Angeles had disappeared. No more soup, save the safety pack they’d brought in their own luggage. Naturally, they couldn’t give away soup to celebrities, given they only had two bags of it, McArthur recalled. Instead, they had to reject one after another, promising though to send them soup when they got back to B.C.

After saying the line over and over again all day, but presumably with little of the embedded humour, the vendors were surprised by a man made famous by that very idea. The announcer came on the mic and said:

“He’s known for one thing and one thing only,” McArthur recalled. “Ladies and gentlemen, Larry Thomas, the soup nazi.”

McArthur first approached Alblas last May – from then until Emmy weekend, the artist worked with a team of trusted friends and volunteers to create her gifts: Jetsons-esque TV picture frames. Several months and 6,000 glass cuts later, Alblas meticulously packed away her picture frames to tote down to Hollywood.

“I met a lot of youth celebrities, who I was super inspired by,” said Alblas about the gift room. “I’m inspired by young people and I love mentoring young people and to see these young people in really awesome roles and so mature and full of life was really great.”

Albas sent producers from shows like Dancing with the Stars home with her hand-made souvenir (a fact many were apparently impressed with),

“It’s just fun to be around all that energy and just to see where it goes,” the Christina Lake artist said of the experience.


@jensenedw
Jensen.edwards@grandforksgazette.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RDKB issues evacuation alert for 1,100 Boundary properties

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

RDKB launches survey to address housing needs in the district

Communities in the district include Trail, Grand Forks, Rossland and Fruitvale

Possible Kermode Bear spotted near Castlegar

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run on May 27

Stolen truck found in Christina Lake

Family happy the vehicle was found

Two more Johnson Flats properties given evacuation alerts

Forecast graphs for Boundary rivers show another spike for week of June 1

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Man recalls black bear chasing him up tree in Slocan Valley

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Minneapolis cop who knelt on man’s neck charged with murder

Arrest comes after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct

Most Read