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18 December . 2020

Teri Shamlian crafts a colorful post-retirement life at Sweetwater

“He cooks in the kitchen, I cook in the kiln.” That’s part of how Teri Shamlian sums up her happy post-retirement life at Sweetwater, where she is pursuing her passion as a glass artist.

Teri and Bob Shamlian relocated to Austin from Bend, Oregon about a year ago, to be closer to their first grandchild.

Originally from Southern California, they lived in Houston throughout the majority of their careers, working in the energy industry.

Their son, Dan, went to college in Austin and like so many graduates, never left. Teri and Bob retired to Bend about 11 years ago. “We loved every minute of it,” says Teri about their life in Oregon. But when their grandchild was born, they decided that Austin was where they wanted to be, too.

It was Teri’s art that led them indirectly to Sweetwater. Dan and his family lived in a nearby community, but Teri and Bob couldn’t find a new home with a three-car garage. Teri wanted to set up her studio in the third garage bay, replicating a setup that worked well in Oregon.

On a visit to Sweetwater, Teri and Bob fell in love with Chesmar’s one-story model home, the Ryder, and there was one homesite remaining that could accommodate a three-car garage. (The Ryder was recently replaced by Chesmar’s newest model home, the Owen.)

“The model home was so gorgeous, we basically built our home to look a lot like it. We especially loved the huge kitchen island and the Hill Country stone exterior,” Teri says.

One difference between the model and the Shamlians’ home is that theirs is filled with moose décor.

“We have at least one moose in every room,” says Teri, whose love of them dates back to the summer when she was a seasonal ranger in the Tetons.

Since moving to Sweetwater, the Shamlians have loved taking care of their granddaughter two days a week, and Teri has settled into a nice daily routine that includes exercise and art.

Most mornings, Teri and Bob love to walk along Pedernales Summit Parkway, Sweetwater’s main thoroughfare, meeting plenty of neighbors along the way. Teri dedicates most afternoons to working in her studio, and as we mentioned, Bob is happy to do the cooking.

“I feel like a kid in a candy store when I’m in my studio or visit the glass supply stores in Austin,” she says.

Teri specializes in fused glass, where colored sections of glass are melted together in a kiln to create the artist’s vision. She also works in mosaics and stained glass, making everything from yard art and stepping stones, to plates and Christmas ornaments.

She sells her creations mainly by word of mouth through all the friends she’s made through her art, and she occasionally takes part in markets, such as the annual Sweetwater Holiday Market. The photo shows her finishing a new sign she made for her studio, which, not surprisingly, is named Moose Crossing Studio.

Teri designed her studio to accommodate two people, and she looks forward to hosting small groups in the future. "Creating fused glass and mosaics is pure fun, and glass breaks, so you can’t take yourself too seriously,” she says. “My attitude is, do you want to come play with me?”

Read more Sweetwater resident stories.