August 14, 2007

Open Studio - Alice L. Johnson

After participating in the St. Louis City-Wide Open Studios Weekend a few weeks ago, I've been thinking about all the artist studios I've visited as part of open studio events over the past 25+ years - especially in the 80's and into the 90's in Boston. I remember going to open studio events at places like Brickbottom, Vernon Street Studios, Fort Point Arts Community, and the Allston Arts District.

It also gave me the idea to try a web equivalent with an emphasis on stained glass artists. That is, catalogue visits to stained glass artists and their studios. Starting with the home studio of Alice Johnson in Watertown, Mass. I've known Alice for more that 20 years and count her as a great friend as well a one of the most talented stained glass artists I know.

This is the exterior of the house - with just a glimpse of the amazing garden that wraps around to the back.

Design Studio

Alice and her husband Paul have lived in this house for almost 25 years.
Her design studio and stained glass studio are on the second floor.
A view of the design studio as first seen coming up the stairs.

Drawing implements

Designs on the side wall to the left.

Close up of one design.

Note the two clear fused glass pieces on the left. These are experiments for the border on the design above.

Another sketch tacked up on the wall.

Colorful tape on a rack. Very useful stuff...

Small painted piece in the window of the design studio.
Alice tells me that the design for the 'Greedy Squirrel' is based on an element of a panel of St. John the Baptist that she saw at the Stained Glass Museum at Ely when she visited the Museum in 1991.

Another small panel in the window of the design studio -
Mirror with an improvised patchwork style border.

Death and the Maiden - one of Alice's earlier efforts

I can't help it, whenever I visit an artist's studio I hone in on the bookshelves. I think it immensely interesting to see what influences, tastes, and proclivities present themselves in seeing what books the artist keeps on hand. This is just a glimpse.





On the way out of the design studio and into the stained glass studio notice on the right a few paintings by Alice's father, Carl Lane, who specialized in marine scenes.


Stained Glass Studio

Small but efficient. The kiln seen here is her older kiln, used now only rarely. She has a larger and newer kiln in a corner of her basement.

Closer views


Samples in the window - Bullseye glass for fusing and some silverstain samples

Turn around to the left and it's all pretty well packed in, and well organized.

These are trays holding an amazing variety of ready-to-use paint palettes. The trays themselves are old lunch trays from a cafeteria at M.I.T.

Showing Alice's brushes and a glimpse of some of the organized bins for small pieces of glass. Note the colorful tape put to use...

Exquisite Corpse section in the SG shop - there are at least a dozen more 'corpse' sections peppered throughout the house

another angle showing the designs scratched into the stain.

Auxiliary SG Studio

Alice keeps her larger sheets of glass in this area of the basement. All the cutting and glazing goes on upstairs. The basement area is used for cutting down larger sheets to bring upstairs and for cementing panels.

The basement is also where her primary kiln is located.

Recent work - Fusing/Painting

Alice has been playing around with fusing and with combining fusing with painting - with some very interesting results. She keeps her fusing samples and experiments well catalogued, providing yet another use for that colorful tape.

An example of one of her typical fusing/painting/staining experiments. The piece is fused with clear and black glass and wire mesh, then painted and stained as well.

A new fused panel by Alice meant for her amazing, ever evolving Bay Window.
Cat and Butterfly fused/painted panel.

The Bay Window in its current manifestation. The Fused Cat panel is in the lower right corner.


The design is roughly based on this drawing by Edward Lear of him and his cat, Foss. 'Roughly based' because, as you can see, Foss has a stubby tail and Alice's cat has a long tail. Alice and Paul have 2 tabby cats themselves.

Finally, thanks to Alice for opening her studio to my latest little experiment in citizen journalism.

Posted by Tom at August 14, 2007 12:50 AM