CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Stephanie Matthews shakes her head when she thinks of the expensive art institute she attended after high school.
"If I known I would be as happy and sell as much playing with trash right out of high school, think of the money my parents would have saved," said the Dunbar resident.
The "trash" Matthews refers to is the glass bottles she repurposes into glassware.
"It thrills me to take an old ugly bottle and make something that's pretty," she said.
Even more appealing is that the item is usually something functional -- tumblers, candleholders, light fixtures, clocks, napkin ring holders, trays and vases.
"I had about 175 items on my Etsy site at one time. This time last year, four or five packages a day were going out the door," she said.
In August, Matthews, 46, moved from Florida back to West Virginia after nearly 25 years away. She moved in with father, Steve Matthews, and converted a three-bay garage behind his Myers Avenue house into her studio.
At one end of the studio are wire containers stacked floor to ceiling and filled with empty wine, liquor and soft-drink bottles of various colors and shapes. At the other end, are three kilns for heating glass and clay.
She bought two of the kilns at yard sales. "That's what got me into hot glass," she explained.
Previously she worked with stained glass, cutting cold, flat glass into shapes and soldering the pieces into designs.
Stained glass became too expensive to make and to sell, though, with her work sometimes selling for $1,000 to $1,500.
In her new venture, she said, "The average person can afford it and use it -- and it's been recycled."