Astral Glass Studio in New Haven recently was commissioned to create several art pieces for Missouri’s first lady, Georganne Nixon.

The shop is owned by Gary and Judy Rice of New Haven.

The pieces were made for Nixon to bring on a trade agreement trip in which she was accompanying her husband, Gov. Jay Nixon.

“It’s a huge honor to have somebody of that stature want your work as a representation of artwork from the state of Missouri, ” said Gary Rice. “We feel really good that of all the artists in the state, we were chosen to create the pieces.”

Several pieces of three- dimensional art had been on display at the Governor’s Mansion in Jefferson City since last year through the Missouri Arts Council.

Rice said he was arranging to pick up the pieces when he was asked if the first lady could purchase a vase and if he could create a dozen more to be given as gifts.

Tiffany Style

Rice said the vase is iridized in a Tiffany style with an organic, veined pattern on the outside of the piece.

To achieve the effect requires titanium to be sprayed in an isopropyl alcohol solution. Titanium is deposited on the surface leaving a metallic rainbow effect and defining the pattern, he explained.

Rice received a photo of Nixon presenting one of the vases to the first lady of Sao Paulo, Brazil, but said he wasn’t sure who else received the vases.

Other Works

This isn’t Rice’s first time creating art for those in prominent positions, as he has created pieces for a star of a reality show, an NFL linebacker, and has made stained-glass pieces for rock stars, he said.

“It’s always great when people want your work — a wonderful honor,” Rice said. “But to have your local government choose you to represent the face of the state they’re coming from is a whole different level and feels completely different. It almost seems unbelievable to us.”

Rice said the honor was “a wonderful serendipity.”

Rice and Lance Stroheker both worked together to create the commissioned pieces.

About Astral Glass

Astral Glass Studio first opened as a stained-glass studio in Smartsville, Calif., in 1974 and introduced blown glass in 1988.

About 10 years ago, owners Gary and Judy Rice moved to Clarksville, Mo. Because there was another business in the town with a similar name, they changed the businesses’ name to Clarksville Glass Works. Three years ago the name was changed back when the couple moved their shop to its current location in the riverfront art district in New Haven, at 133 Front St.