Drink in style with hand-painted glassware created in Oakmont

The woman from Penn Hills brings her passion for art to her Oakmont business, glass by glass.

Amanda Lee, 42, of Oakmont, decided to pursue a career in art because she could have crayons.

However, not everyone shared her enthusiasm.

“My father was a single father and never thought art was a profession. I was self-taught,” Lee said. “Everyone in my life told me it’s hard to dream big.”

Lee opened Amanda Lee Glassware in 2013.

The 9,000-square-foot store and studio is located at 931 Third Street, behind the Speedway gas station, across from Oakmont Bakery.

Joyce Hands | Tribune Review

Pittsburgh-themed hand-painted wine glasses are available from Amanda Lee Glassware in Oakmont.

At 27, he enrolled at Slippery Rock College to study art history.

“I wanted to be an art history professor. I didn’t feel challenged enough,” she said.

Lee’s professors encouraged her to pursue her passion for art and recommended studying abroad.

She entered the Academy of Art and Design in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Eager to embark on an adventure in Europe, Lee, whose maternal side is half-Slovak, started selling hand-painted wine glasses to help pay for his college tuition.

“I was so excited. To save money on travel, I love making great gifts, so I started drawing glasses for my friends and family. That’s how it all started,” says Lee. said.

Working as a bartender, Lee provided regular customers with glassware, which developed into a home business.

“I pay for my glasses, but my collage art is my passion,” Lee said.

Lee’s original collage artwork, made from recycled magazine snippets, is featured throughout the store.

From Marilyn Monroe to the Pittsburgh skyline, her collection includes a collage of the famous Oakmont Country Club.

“That took two years to complete,” said Lee, who was offered $25,000 for the golf-themed piece.

Her design inspiration, she said, comes from art history and her psyche.

“I just come up with ideas — Cézanne, the Impressionists — there are a lot of influences out there. I wish I could do this all day, but I take pride in my glassware,” Lee said.


Joyce Hands | Tribune Review

Artist Amanda Lee showcases one of her original works made entirely from recycled magazine fragments in her Oakmont store, studio and gallery.

Lee’s business slogan, “Hand-painted with love, a little wine,” is true.

Painted on pilsner, wine, stemless and highball glasses, the design collection includes the Pittsburgh-themed sets ‘Inser’, ‘Steel Stemless’, ‘Black and Gold’, ‘Hat Trick’, ‘Christmas Pickles’ and ‘ Pittsburgh Snowman” included.

Other themes include the Pitt/Penn State, Birds & Bugs, Dogs, Flowers, Golf, Beach, Midnight, Teal, and Rose Gold collections.

Shoppers 21 and over can enjoy a glass of wine at the complimentary wine bar and browse hundreds of custom-painted glasses.

Visitors can also pop into the open studio and meet the artists at work.

“It’s more of an experience here than just shopping,” Lee said.

Clinton Township customer Lyn DiSanti recently had a glass of wine while shopping for a gift exchange.

“I love the uniqueness of it. It’s my go-to place for gifts.”

Over the past four years, Lee has been fine-tuning paint formulations to find the right formulations that are durable and long-lasting.

“Our design was great, but we needed it to last,” says Lee of his biggest business challenge.

Hand washing is recommended, but all glassware, including those with glitter, can be put in the dishwasher.

“That’s what sets us apart,” Lee said of the long-lasting paint. “They are very durable.”

Best-selling glasses include the Steel City collection, followed by Merry and Bright, holiday-themed light designs, and frosted snowflakes.

Custom orders are accepted for 12 or more glasses and usually take a week.

All shipped orders are packed in a custom made wine cork with a little “lucky” ladybug. This is a detail inspired by Lee’s deceased grandmother, Carol her Conrad, who found a ladybug when Lee was a little girl.

“My Nana was an artist and my biggest supporter,” Lee said. “She passed away a few years before I started painting glassware.

“Ladybug keeps her close. We love to share our luck.”

Lee employs several young female artists as painters.

Nora Weitzel, a senior at Riverview High School, is the youngest staff painter.

“It’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced before,” said Weitzel, who wore paint-splattered jeans and boots from past jobs.

Weitzel plans to major in art after graduation.


Joyce Hands | Tribune Review

Amanda Lee Glassware painter Caitlin Thorne paints Pitt-themed wine glasses in her studio and store at 931 Third Street in Oakmont.

Caitlin Thorne, a Penn Hills High School alumnus, began painting with Amanda Lee seven years ago.

“I love making pieces. I love painting and packaging the most,” Thorn said. “Here she is one design at a time.”

Amanda Lee Glassware ships to all 50 states and dozens of countries.

“This is my dream studio, and it’s all mine,” Lee said proudly.

Joyce Hanz is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. To contact Joyce, email jhanz@triblive.com or use her Twitter. .

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