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Published November 07 2013

Former body shop man creates stained glass art

FARGO - Pretty little angels stretch all the way across one wall of a room in Wally Christensen’s apartment here.

There are 78 of the stained glass angelic figures on that wall, plus a couple elsewhere in the house. He’s also made manger scenes, American Indian figures, cowboys and horses from stained glass.

Glass isn’t his only medium. Christensen has also made hand-painted clocks out of circular saw blades.

“I think I’ve got around 40 of them,” said Christensen, a retired body shop man who has also bought and sold cars.

His creative endeavors have sometimes had him burning the midnight oil.

“Some nights I used to stay up until three in the morning making that stuff,” he said.

Christensen began working in stained glass in 2008 while living in Phoenix, where he took a class at a stained glass store. That was many angels and manger scenes ago.

Working with his hands is nothing new for Christensen. He remembers the days when his fingers were smooth from all the sanding he did on car bodies.

Christensen said there’s “nobody in this town” that’s used as much Bondo car body filler as he has.

His sister, Leila Lau, remembers getting one of his stained glass manger scenes for Christmas one year.

“I was impressed,” she said.

“He did auto body work all his life. And you know how beautiful you have to make paint jobs on cars and fiberglass,” she said. “So I suppose, once he didn’t have to work on cars anymore, it just kind of fell into place for him.”

If his creativity seems like it would take a lot of energy, maybe coffee is part of Christensen’s secret. He said he drinks six to eight “full pots, right up to the top” daily.

He’s given away some of his work and would welcome an opportunity to wholesale his goods to someone who could sell them.

“I was just hoping that somebody would want to come in and buy every piece of stained glass I’ve got,” he said.

He has the same wish for his clocks, he said.

But those interested in purchasing his work don‘t have to buy the whole lot. He’s willing to sell them individually. For more information, Christensen can be contacted at (701) 282-9160.

Christensen says he enjoys making the items. Asked if he’s always been a creative person, Christensen said, “No, I don’t think so. I don’t know. But it’s a lot of fun.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Shane Mercer at (701) 451-5734