July 23, 2011

American Glass Guild Conference - Day 3

Day 3 - Talks - Highlights after a blurry day - Virginia Raguin showing wonderful painted details throughout SG history, Robin Neely on conservation painting, Lindsy Parrott on Tiffany Lamps, all ending with the 2011 AGG Auction. I would be very surprised if the auction this year is not a record breaker. [update - 8/4/11, the auction did indeed set a record, raising $20,500! wow.]
2011 Auction highlight - Self Portrait by Tim Carey. Tim works for the Judson Studios, out of Los Angeles, CA. Tim is a man of many self portraits.

Posted by Tom at 11:45 PM

July 22, 2011

American Glass Guild Conference - Day 2 - Maitland Armstrong Window

Today - Tiffany Lamp Exhibit, The Cathedral of All Souls at Biltmore Village, and the start of conference talks.

Detail of Palm Frond Window, by David Maitland Armstrong/Helen Armstrong
The Cathedral of All Souls
Biltmore Village, Asheville, North Carolina
click on image to for closer view

Posted by Tom at 10:53 AM

July 21, 2011

American Glass Guild Conference - Day 1 - Penland

Visited Penland with Alice Johnson, Nancy Nicholson, And Gwyneth today. Beautiful place.

Glass Chicken by William Bernstein, Penland Gallery

more pictures to follow.

Posted by Tom at 11:46 PM

September 14, 2010

No Great Modern Religious Artists?

In submitting the American Glass Guild 2011 Call for Papers to the College Art Association opportunites page, I noticed this other Call for Papers, from an aorganization I've never heard of -

Category: Calls For Papers
Posted by: Association of Scholars of Christianity in the History of Art
Topic: Why Have There Been No Great Modern Religious Artists?
Deadline: 10/01/10

Many of the most prominent and celebrated artists of the 20th century have employed religious themes, iconography, and forms in their work. However, many have been ignored, dismissed as aberrant, or condemned as an improper combination of incompatible traditional and avant-garde values. We seek 20-minute papers for Symposium to be held day prior to CAA meeting in New York Feb 8, 2011 that examine specific examples of art from the 20th century employing religious subjects, symbols, and contexts. Paper proposals of no more than two pages double-spaced should be submitted with a cover letter and c.v. by Oct 1 to James Romaine (drjamesromaine@gmail.com) and Rachel Smith (rcsmith@taylor.edu. It is hoped that symposium participants will also contribute to the development of the Association of Scholars of Christianity in the History of Art. See http://christianityhistoryart.org.

Posted on 09/14/10
Expires on 10/01/10 at midnight

Unfortunately the website address mentioned does not work.

Posted by Tom at 01:24 PM

August 18, 2010

Judith Schaechter - Photoshop and I

Judith Schaechter's awesome presentation at the 2010 American Glass Guild Conference. This was part of the panel discussion that I arranged with Judith, J Kenneth Leap and myself. The whole thing went very well, but Judith's presentation was the highlight. So here it is -

I did a brief presentation as well, and I might adapt that one for video as well. Unfortunately, my voice was too low in the recording so I'd have to redo the sound as well as transfer the powerpoint to video. I will probably do it but it will take more time.

Posted by Tom at 10:59 AM

July 23, 2010

American Glass Guild Conference 2010 1

No time to go in depth, but I'm in the midst of the 2010 American Glass Guild Conference, in Detroit, Michigan.

From the workshop on Thursday

and one tiny glimpse of the first day of the conference - a lovely little detail with the signature from a Connick window in St. Paul's Cathedral.

Posted by Tom at 07:59 AM

July 20, 2010

AGG 2010 Conference

The mad dash is on to get ready for the American Glass Guild Conference happening this week in Detroit. Michigan. I've got the last of the packing done now and then I'm off tomorrow early am.... then teaching a workshop, and moderating a panel, and preparing another newsletter for August, and maybe even doing some relaxing and trying to enjoy the company of stained glass colleagues.

Last minute info can be seen at the 2010 AGG Conference website.

You could also download the 2010 American Glass Guild Conference Program, as a sneak peek. Note that it will open up a 6.6mb pdf file in a new window.


Posted by Tom at 05:33 PM

June 30, 2010

Coldworking for the Glass Artist

This is part 1 of a talk on Coldworking Glass by Robert Stephens of His Glassworks, out of Asheville NC. The audio can be a little jumpy in the transitions from slides to filmed lecture, but in general the talk is very clear and well done, as well as extremely informative. I've only seen up to part 3 (of 8), but I know this will be worth the time to see the whole thing. Certainly anyone who does beveling or engraving will definitely gain from it.

You can see the other parts at the His Glassworks YouTube channel.

oh, by the way, one reason that I find this interesting is that a portion of this talk deals with flex shaft engraving, which I've been doing a lot of recently. Engraving and fire-polishing though.

A work in progress, after engraving and fire-polishing, but before painting -

Posted by Tom at 09:57 AM

August 06, 2009

Dan Maher Talks About Corn and Stained Glass

Dan talks about his "Pig With Corn" panel at the AGG conference in Buffalo, New York, July 2009.

via YouTuber RJJacobson

Dan and I did a talk together at the AGG conference this year on the various screenprinting/photoblast processes we use in our work. We hope to do a full day workshop on these processes at the next AGG conference in Detroit, in July 2010.

Stay tuned...

Posted by Tom at 11:17 AM

July 31, 2009

American Glass Guild Conference 2009 Quick Highlights

Quick takes on the recent American Glass Guild Conference - 2009.
2 weeks ago and still a bit of a blur -

- The cab ride into Buffalo and how the conversation with the cabbie relates to stained glass in a funny/depressing way.

- Seeing old friends and colleagues, especially Dan and Nancy.

- Patrick Reyntiens - His great painted work, his good humor and the t-shirt trick (hopefully photos to follow).

- Lifetime Achievement award to Nick Parrendo - The testimonials in particular were very emotional.

- Ken Leap as Lawrence Saint. That is, Ken Leap dressed as Lawrence Saint in giving his talk on Lawrence Saint's quest to recreate medieval copper ruby glass. Ken gives the most professional, entertaining and informative talks of anyone.

- Suddenly being the head of a committee and elected to the board of directors for the AGG and feeling kind of.. huh?!?... but in a good way, I hope.

- Looking forward to Detroit in 2010, and really looking forward to Asheville in 2011.

Posted by Tom at 09:59 AM

July 19, 2009

AGG Conference Talks - Links

I gave 2 talks yesterday at the still ongoing American Glass Guild Conference in Buffalo New York.

I created a page of links related to the 'Thermal Screenprinting' and 'Stained Glass in the Internet' talks.

more on the conference after I get back home...

Posted by Tom at 01:57 PM

July 17, 2009

AGG 2009 Walking Tour

At the AGG 2009 Conference for my first official day of activity. Too much of a whirlwind to comment in depth but just one quick note on the walking tour of Buffalo.

The highlight for me, though not so much for the stained glass -

The Guaranty Building (wikipedia info)
by Louis Sullivan
now the home of the law firm Hodgson Russ LLP


I'd only ever seen Sullivan's building ornament in small fragments and to see an entire building, mostly intact, is astonishing.

Jaw dropper of a capitol.

the little downspout in the corner

even the doorknobs are covered with ornamentation

oh, yeah and there is some stained glass too...

I hereby nominate Louis Sullivan as the God of Militant Ornamentalism.

Check out Chuck La Chiusa's Buffalo as an Architectural Museum site.
Chuck was at the conference all weekend and proved an invaluable resource for all things 'Architectural Buffalo'.

[update July 24, 2009 - I've now posted a Flickrset of The Guaranty Building.

Posted by Tom at 12:41 PM

June 10, 2009

GAS Conference 2009

The Glass Art Society Conference 2009 is this week in Corning New York. Lookinig at the website, it looks to be a huge event. Once again, very little 'flat glass' presence, to the point where the only event of the conference directly related to stained glass, the Tiffany Windows in Western New York Tour, was cancelled due to low registration.
Still, I do know of a few SG artists who will be attending. Good luck to them. I'll relay reports if I hear anything.

Posted by Tom at 11:16 AM

May 27, 2009

AGG 2009 Conference Early Registration Deadline

If you plan to attend the American Glass Guild Conference this coming July, you can save some money by registering by May 31, the deadline for early registration. You can find the Registration Form, Schedule and list of workshops, presentations and speakers and hotel reservation link at 2009 Conference webpage. The Conference will be held in Buffalo, NY, from July 16-20.

Workshops are being held Thursday and Friday Morning. Note that the Thursday full day conservation workshop is full.

You can look at detailed information of sites related to the conference at the Google Map, AGG 2009 Buffalo Conference Sites. The map includes the sites for the Friday morning walking tour and the Monday full day bus tour, as well as locations of local sites of interest. Lots of links.

It's going to be a full weekend. I'll be there, speaking on Friday afternoon (Stained Glass in the Internet Age) and again on Saturday morning (A Quick Primer: Photo Sandblasting and Silk-screening, with Dan Maher). I'll have more details as the time comes closer.

Posted by Tom at 03:15 AM

February 21, 2009

American Glass Guild Conference 2009

I will be speaking at the American Glass Guild 2009 Conference. It will be held in Buffalo, New York, from July 16-20, 2008.

I'll be talking about "Stained Glass in the Internet Age" -

How might emerging internet technologies affect the prospects for stained glass artists and studios in the future? How can the field of stained glass benefit in terms of training, education, information sharing, scholarship, marketing and, maybe even, perhaps, direct sales? In what is referred to as “web 2.0” there are such a dizzying array of new options available for selling, promoting and marketing both your work and stained glass in general - what to make of it?

Here are a few links related to the other presenters -

• William Derix of Derix Glasstudios will speak on Art Glass In Architecture. I did a blog post about a Derix window in St. Louis. I'm looking forward to hearing what he has to say.
Robert Jekyll will be talking about his long career as a Canadian stained glass artist.
• Jacquelann Killian will talk about the stained glass of Alice Cordelia Morse
Daniel Maher is speaking about his work. Dan is an old friend and colleague and we will also be doing a presentation together on technique.
Ellen Miret will talk about her work, and about glass selection.
• Rachel Phillips - on Evie Hone (Evie Hone on Flickr)
• Dr Bronwynn Hughes - Article about Dr. Hughes, Seminar info
• Dalle De Verre Workshop by Helmut Schardt
From the 'Artists in Stained Glass' website, a description of another
Delle De Verre workshop with Helmut Schardt.
• Stained Glass Conservation Workshop, by Jonathan Thornton, who is a Professor of Objects Conservation at Buffalo State University. It's not related to the conference, but he also makes historic tools.

More information will be added as it is announced...

Posted by Tom at 07:56 AM

February 18, 2009

Glass Art Society - 2009 Conference, Corning NY

Another conference - this is the big one for glass art, though not much related to stained glass. The 2009 Glass Art Society Conference in Corning, NY, taking place June 11-13, 2009. I'm told that the GAS conferences which take place in Corning tend to be the biggest and best.

Alas, there are no stained glass or even flat glass related events among the presentations and demonstrations, as far as I can tell. But they do have a pre-conference bus tour (on Wednesday, June 10) called Exploring Tiffany Windows in Western New York. Looks interesting.

Here's a nicely made promo video for the conference - with tantalizing film clips, both old and new, of glassmaking techniques.

Posted by Tom at 08:15 AM

February 17, 2009

Conference on Scottish Stained Glass

via the AGG bulletin board -

A Day Conference for Scotland
and for HOMECOMING 2009.
May 9, 2009
New Kilpatrick Parish Church, Bearsden, Glasgow

Download pdf file of the schedule here -

links to a few of the participants -
Linda Cannon and Rab MacInnes of Cannon-MacInnes Stained Glass
Michael Donnelly, best known for his books on Scottish Stained Glass.
Susan Bradbury, stained glass artist (Burns Window by Susan Bradbury)
Eilidh Keith, stained glass artist.
Marie Stumpff, Senior Conservator (objects) at the Burrell Collection, which has an amazing collection of stained glass

Posted by Tom at 08:18 AM

October 03, 2008

AGG 2008 Photos

Check out the flickrset of AGG 2008 Conference Photos. I hope someone can go through them and add the info identifying who's who and what's what. I know some of it but not much.

Ken Leap in his medieval garb (mentioned in my quick overview here), and that's me with my back to the camera.

Photos by Jon Erickson. Posted to Flickr by Kathleen Hepburn of Whittemore Durgin Glass Co. (the first stained glass supplier I ever visited, in 1971!), and Rebecca Hartman Baker.

Posted by Tom at 07:22 PM

September 09, 2008

Glencairn Museum

August 2, 2008 pt. 1 - The whirlwind day at the AGG conference started with a trip to the Glencairn Museum in Bryn Athyn, PA. Ken Leap gave a kind of practice tour (practice for the official conference tour Monday) including showing some of the discoveries he's made about the glass and glassworkers of Bryn Athyn Cathedral.

Glencairn is most famous for its collection of medieval art, with this panel being perhaps the most famous of the medieval windows - Flight Into Egypt from St. Denis, France, circa 1145.

I'd been to the Glencairn Museum before, though it was 22 years ago. The Cathedral hasn't changed at all, but the Museum has changed a little. The Glencairn Museum is now marketed primarily as a museum of religious history. We focused on the stained glass, but there are also small galleries for Islamic, Ancient Roman, Egyptian, and Native America Art.

It is to my mind an amazing house museum, especially as a reflection of the arts and crafts ideals of the time.

Many photos, with a few comments, below the fold...

Bryn Athyn Cathedral

The Museum is just up the hill from The Bryn Athyn Cathedral. Alas, it was too early on a Saturday morning and we were not able to get into the Cathedral.

In terms of the history of the buildings go to the New Church History website, which has many fascinating articles related to both Glencairn and The Bryn Athyn Cathedral.

And what is the 'New Church'? Also known as the Church of the New Jerusalem, or the Swedenborgian Faith, it is based on the ideas, writings and books of Emmanual Swedenborg. You can get some sense of the uniquely American variant of Swedenborianism in this TIME article from 1938 - 'For Swedenborg'.


For lots more info on the Cathedral, check out Bryn Athyn Cathedral: The Building of a Church, with a section devoted specifically to the stained glass. Contains lots of info on the unique design/construction methods and the workshops that were created to build the Cathedral, then the house. The Cathedral was built first (1910's to 1920's), then Glencairn (late 1920's to 1939).

Exterior - Glencairn

Glencairn was the family residence of Raymond Pitcairn, his wife Mildred Pitcairn and their nine children, and remained the family residence until Mildred's death in 1979, when it was turned over to the New Church and became a museum in 1982. When I visited it had only been open as a museum for a few years. For more background on the museum, check out this article on the Glencairn website - 'A little castle' for his medieval artworks.


Great Hall

An amazing space.


This only shows one of three large 3-lancet windows in this room. A few of the windows incorporate some medieval glass into them, but mostly these are windows made for the house. Some of these are based on specific designs of medieval glass, and some are newly designed.

This American window is obviously newly designed.


Swedenborgian Angels

Swedenborg was big on angels. The idea of the 'personal angel', popularized in movies like "It's a Wonderful Life" or "The Bishop's Wife", comes originally from Swedenborg. The Cathedral windows have dozens of angels in them, as can be seen at the webpage having to do with The Windows and Their Representations , which describes the scenes depicted in the windows at Bryn Athyn Cathedral - the word 'angel' is used 49 times in describing the iconography of the windows.

The house has a few as well -this one in the great hall, way up high.


Another on an upper floor
Flickrset for Glencairn Museum by Basta-Cosi

This one is a mosaic, which we didn't see on the tour but I found it on a flickr page from poodlerat

Arts & Crafts features

There is a distinctly Arts and Crafts feel to the house. Arts & Crafts with a preference toward the medieval, due to the amount of collected and incorporated medieval art.

Entrance Doors
Wonderful organic shapes and use of bullseyes.

Entrance door from the inside.

Interior Doors


Even a back hallway can feature incredibly intricate work. The walls here are all done in mosaic.

All the wood surfaces have this highly polished but undulating quality to them.
Also note the background wall, again mosaic.

Light Fixtures

Laborer Lamp - a tribute to the workers. Glencairn kept them employed throughout the depression years of the 1930's.

Bullseye Lantern

Medieval Stained Glass

As for the medieval glass, Raymond Pitcairn collected medieval art as reference for the artists creating Bryn Athyn Cathedral. You can still get a copy of the book Radiance and Reflection, which is about the medieval art in the Pitcairn collection.

This is another of the 5 panels from St. Denis

March of the Christian Army, St. Denis, 1150

a detail

Most of the medieval glass is from the 12th-13th centuries.
and some of the content can be a bit grim. like this -

and this -

and this

Note that the new glass made for the house presents a quite mild and gentle form of Christianity, same thing with the Cathedral. I know they even shied away from cruicifixion scenes. Again, Swedenborg focused more on angels than martyrs.

There are a few pieces that are later Medieval or early Renaissance. In these, there is a more tonal painting style compared to the earlier work.


Sheet Glass of the Bryn Athyn Workshops

Unusually, the stained glass artisans of Bryn Athyn made their own sheet glass on site. Ken Leap has been researching this and did a display of what he's found. Ken also made a video showing the basement of the Cathedral where boxes and boxes of this glass are still stored.



The sheets are all quite small. These were made using the 'muff glass' process, also called the broad sheet. The process is similar to the cylinder process, where a cylinder is blown, then cooled, split while cool and flattened while being reheated. In the broad sheet process, the cylinder is smaller and is split and flattened while the glass is still hot. Better suited for a small workshop. Still, not something you see anyone doing these days.


This is a sample set painted with sheet numbers and glazed together.

The glass numbers were stamped into the sheets while still hot.

There is an online photo gallery called Glassmaking in Bryn Athyn, that shows pictures of the designers and glassworkers. It even has a schematic layout of the hot shop. Highly recommended.

There is one more surprising feature on the newchurch website - a diary on the creation of a stained glass window by Lawrence Saint. In the sectionon the Methusalah Book - the entire book is scanned and transcribed. The window is a recreation of a window at Canterbury Catherdral in England. Most of the diary seems to deal with glass painting techniques and experiments, very esoteric stuff. For hard core stained glass paint geeks only.

Methuselah Window

Capitols in the Courtyard

And finally, as we were leaving, there was this lovely courtyard, like a mini-cloister.


What struck my eye were the sweet capitol designs.
Birds mostly inside the courtyard and lambs on the outside.

A peacock

Nancy, of course, spots the pigeons.

Lots of Lambs as well, which we were told represent the idea of family.

Posted by Tom at 07:39 AM

August 27, 2008

AGG2008- the quick overview

Hard to believe it's been over 3 weeks since I attended the 2008 American Glass Guild Conference - and I still haven't posted anything yet! Sorry. Crazy busy days. Fact is, I starting writing and it turns out I have enough material for several posts.

So today, it's just the quick overview. and a few photos.

Unfortunately, I could only make it for the one day - Saturday, August 2nd. Early in the morning, thanks to Ken Leap, I was lucky enough to be part of a group given a kind of practice tour of the Glencairn Museum - practice for the official stained glass tour the conference had on Monday. The house and its collection are truly amazing. I'd been to Glencairn before but it was great to see it again and to see some of the glass-making related stuff that Ken has unearthed. Longer post in process.

After the museum, on the way to the conference, we (Dan Maher, Nancy Nicholson and myself) stopped to pick up Judith Schaechter at her home/studio in Philadelphia, and we got a quick tour and a sneak peek at her now installed MAD commission before we were off to the conference. Again, longer post in process, along the lines of my open studio visits.

The first speaker I heard was Nicola Gordon Bowe talking about Wilhelmina Geddes. I wrote about the Wilhelmina Geddes St. Bartholomew War Memorial Window in Ottawa, Canada in a recent post, and I was looking forward to seeing the lecture by Dr. Bowe. It did not disappoint. Geddes' work is very strong and deserves more attention.

I got to speak a little bit with Dr. Bowe after the lecture as I had wanted to mention that I've seen the St. Bart's window. She was thrilled to know I'd seen it and as it turns out I was the only one at the conference who has seen it. No big surprise as Ottawa is hardly a major tourist attraction. More on this to follow as well.

detail, War Memorial Window, 1919, by Wilhelmina Geddes
St. Bartholomew's Anglican Church, Ottawa, Canada
photo taken by me in 1988

There was a talk by Carol Heidschuster, Cathedral Works Manager of Lincoln Cathedral on the ongoing restoration of the Cathedral. I wish I'd seen the talk the previous day on the restoration of "The Dean's Eye", a prominent rose window in that cathedral. I love rose windows.

My friend and colleague Nancy Nicholson gave an overview of her work and career. Her recent work veering away from the cityscape and toward tree forms was especially wonderful and fascinating. As always, great work.
Urban Tree Tile #2

I'd heard Ken Leap speak before, at the 2006 Glass Art Society conference and knew to expect a very professional, entertaining and interesting slide show... and he wore his medieval garb this time around... fun stuff.

One of his personal pieces, riffing on the idea of the silverstained roundel.

State of the Art Panel, moderated by Judith Schaechter -
I'd never met Judith Schaechter until this day though she and her work were well known to me for a very long time. I was a little nervous about the panel seeing that we were talking about something a bit on the bleak side - i.e. why is stained glass so out of fashion in the art world these days? On top of that, I had never met any of the other panelists. Well, of course, It went fine. I hope we left people with a few things to think about. Again, planning a longer post based on this as well.

After that there was a cocktail reception and a conference dinner and then I had to go. Still, in the short time there I remember a flurry of nice conversations with Sarah Gallin and Nicola Gordon Bowe and Mary Higgins, Ellen Miret and Drew Anderson, and more.

All in all, I got a warm and wonderful reception from everyone I met. Probably the best part is that there was a much greater sense of openness than I had ever experienced at a stained glass conference. A very good development.

Posted by Tom at 07:30 AM

August 04, 2008

AGG conference - Philly 2008

Currently on the road coming back from the east coast, with part of my travels being to participate in the American Glass Guild Conference 2008 in Cherry Hill, NJ. I was asked to be on the 'State of the Art" Panel, moderated by Judith Schaechter (who dubbed it 'The Autonomous Panel'), with fellow panelists Joseph Cavalieri and Ginger Ferrell.

The discussion was a frank, sometimes brutal, sometimes depressing but 'whine-free' assessment of the state of stained glass as an art today. More details on this and other things I saw at the conference over the coming days.

It was a great experience and wonderful to be with fellow stained glass enthusiasts, friends and colleagues, if only for the one day. I really wish I could have attended the entire conference.

[update August 19, 2008 - I am preparing some longer posts on the conference. Been too busy to finish them - they should come in the next few weeks]

Posted by Tom at 10:10 AM

July 16, 2008

Blogging the SGAA Conference 2008

Elizabeth Steinebach from the Canadian-based organization Artists in Stained Glass gives an account of her time at the SGAA 2008 Conference in Oakland CA. -

Pre-Conference Class Day
Official Opening Day
Saturday Report
Sunday report

Interesting stuff, especially seeing that I was intrigued by the prescence of distinctly non-SGAA type artists like Paul Marioni, Dick Weiss and Cappy Thompson. I only wish more people did this type of conference blogging. Multiple perspectives would help enormously...

Posted by Tom at 07:11 AM

June 26, 2006

GAS 2006 day by day

General impressions -

This was my first time attending a conference of the Glass Art Society (commonly referred to as GAS). I did some activities around the 1996 GAS conference in Boston, but I didn't actually attend the conference itself. I dove into this conference in St. Louis seeing that I was accepted both as a demonstrating artist and as the one to organize the pre-conference tour, in this case a stained glass tour of modern and contemporary stained glass in the St. Louis area. The St. Louis conference was also unusual in having three flat glass demos - by myself, Ken Leap and John Reyntiens.

'Stained glass' has always taken a back seat in the Glass Art Society, and there are many misconceptions about and prejudices against SG at GAS. It is, in fact, best to not use the term 'stained glass' while at a GAS conference - too many preconceived notions about stained glass gives it a bad aura here. Better to use terms like 'flat glass' or 'architectural glass'.

Hot glass artists and stained glass artists work in very different settings and have a very different professional language, so perhaps it's not surprising that the two have difficulty communicating and appreciating each other. It's too bad, since they do have much to offer each other, in my opinion.

Hot glass is 'hot' right now and stained glass is not. That much is clear, at least amongst the GAS crowd. I guess my mission is one of revival, both in terms of convincing the GAS types that there is good 'stained glass' being made in the world and convincing stained glass artists to persevere, be open-minded and concentrate on doing even better work.

So, despite my still feeling a bit of an outsider at the Glass Art Society, I would like to stick with it and go to more of the conferences. It may all depend on GAS really trying to include the 'flat glass' related items in their future conferences. That, in many ways, is in the hands of the 'stained glass' community, who have to come up with the proposals and present them in a compelling and professional manner.

So, here are my rather lengthy day by day activities, thoughts, impressions and pictures of GAS 2006 - in the extended entry ->

My schedule for the week was pretty full.
Tuesday June 13th - Teaching a preconference SG Design workshop
Wednesday June14th - Conducting the Stained Glass Tour
Friday, June 16th - Setting up the Stained Glass Exquisite Corpse for the Live Auction
Saturday, June 17th - my own Demo
Sunday, June 18th - Screenprinting for SG Workshop

On top of this, I wanted to make sure and see all the other flat glass demos as well as the talk by Karen Mulder on 20th century German Glass.

I was also trying to assist a company called Xpresscreen in the 'tech display' area. They sell the thermal screen making machines that are associated with the technology I've used to do my screenprinting on glass. 'Tech Display' turned out to be one of the most interesting aspects of the GAS conference for me. I guess I'm something of a Glass Tech junkie. I just like looking at all the tools and knowing what they're used for.

GAS Conference Week - day 1
Tuesday June 13
Pre Conference Stained Glass Computer Design Workshop
at the Thomas Dunn Learning Center St. Louis
Intense day teaching on the use of Adobe Illustrator for the purpose of designing stained glass windows. I fear the beginners got a bit overwhelmed, but this class went well nonetheless. I think they all got their fair share of information out of it.

For the class I set up two galleries of Illustrator-based designs that I've worked on over the years - one of drawings completed while employed at Salem Stained Glass, and another featuring designs I have done on my own. Not all of these are my designs in the sense that I thought up the design or even did the initial sketch (i.e. all but one of the Salem SG designs were pre-existing designs that I translated into Illustrator).

GAS Conference Week - day 2
Wednesday June 14th, 2006
Stained Glass Tour
see posting from Wednesday June 14th.

additional thoughts on the stained glass tour sites -

I'm still fascinated by the social justice themes in the windows at St. Marks Episcopal. I've been thinking that this is the rare case where the patron, that is the Rector at the time of the commisison, had more to do with the unique success of the windows than did the designer or the fabricator. I know of no other Harmon-designed or Frei-fabricated windows that engage with these kinds of social justice themes. I suspect that came entirely from the Rector who commissioned the work.

Rodney Winfield windows at the Sheldon Concert Hall. I felt a lot of resistance to these windows when I first saw them, but in seeing them up close and more in depth, I can at least appreciate what was being attempted. The windows all feature the same leading pattern, with different colors and painting treatments on each window, making them look strikingly different. Hence the name - 'Theme and Variations'. A nice idea.

It was nice to fit in the William Cochran/Derix window at the Regional Arts Commission Building, especially since Ken Leap has been working on 'float glass painting' projects with Derix Studios and could give a unique insight into how the window was made. Barbara Derix was at the conference, but she did not get in until the day after the tour.

GAS conference day 3 -
Thursday June 15th, 2006
first official conference day
Third Degree Glass Factory

Your average GAS conference is quite big for an artist conference (1,200 or so people) and does attract a wide variety of people from all over the world. GAS has pushed the international aspect hard in the last ten years and the results are impressive.
This was a typical set up for the larger demonstrations - in this case for one of the flameworking demonstrations.


The flat glass area was comparatively small, but was sufficient.
AM - attended the John Reyntiens Demo. He demonstrated painting on paper and the techniques he uses to loosen up the painting process and then how this is translated to glass painting. The most interesting thing to see was the wax resist technique, very reminiscent of the work his father, the legendary Patrick Reyntiens, did with John Piper.

He also showed something of how to do gilding on glass.

Interesting, even if, all in all, his demo came off as a bit disorganized.

Ducked out of the late morning and early afternoon scheduled conference activities to take Ken Leap around St. Louis and especially to show him a church that I couldn't manage to fit in to the official stained slass tour. One of particular interest to a glass painter - the Beatitudes Windows at Second Baptist Church, designed and painted by Siegfried Reinhardt. Here is a sample -
This doesn't really give the sense of scale. The feet here are something like 4-5 feet high.

Ken and I hung out for a few more hours and talked stained glass talk non-stop.

GAS Conference Week - day 4
Friday June 16th, 2006
second official conference day

AM - Demo - J. Kenneth Leap
much more organized and efficient in his presentation

First he gave a brief history/explanation of glass painting.

Then he showed the basics of mixing paint and explained/demonstrated the concept of 'trace' and 'matt'.



He also demonstrated his use of airbrush in the matting process. Interesting and informative all around. There will be more on Ken's work in future postings...

PM - In the afternoon, I set up the Stained Glass Exquisite Corpse for the Live Auction.

Gallery Hop - Stopped at Salt of the Earth to say hello to Robin Lynch, who worked so hard to put the gallery hop together. Met the glass artist Orfeo Quagliatia, son of another legendary stained glass artist, Narcissus Quagliata.

That was it for me and the gallery hop as I needed to set up for my demo on early Saturday morning. Third Degree was functioning as the hub for transport that evening as well as showing some curious off the cuff demonstrations by flameworkers demonstrating 'ancient flameworking techniques' like the 'hot volcano' method and the 'oil lamp and blower' technique... very interesting stuff and just the kind of thing that makes these conferences especially worthwhile.

GAS Conference Week - day 5
Saturday June 17th, 2006
third and last official conference day

My demo - I was very nervous, but it went well.
I demonstrated some of the methods I've used over the years to make my work more original. That is, to distinguish it from panels that just use factory-made glass and do nothing to it to make it unique. The methods I discussed included screenprinting/handpainting, acid etching, sandblasting/firepolishing, and engraving/firepolishing. In terms of actual demonstration, I first demonstrated the method I use for engraving flashed glass for inclusion in panels. Here I am engraving some small pieces of flashed glass on an ordinary glass router/grinder.


These are some pieces after engraving and before fire polishing

These are different pieces after fire polishing. It's difficult to see in this photo, but the glassy sparkle returns to the glass after being heated in the kiln to the equivalent of a high paint fire.

I will make these small engraved pieces when I have spare time and store them in a cigar box. When I incorporate them in a panel, I always include them in an improvisatory manner. That is, I do not draw out the design on paper. Instead, I will see how the pieces fit in best and fill the gaps. Sometimes the engraved pieces are the main focus, like in the panel Engraved, and sometimes the pieces are used as a border or frame for something else, such as the elaborate frame for the Sean Michael Portrait.

I then showed my method for screenprinting the faces in such panels as Four Women, which you can see on display in the background.

Here are some of the screened pieces on the light table, before firing. This being a process of 'controlled accident', I always do a few extra and discard the less usable ones. If I end up with more than one 'good one', I'll keep it as a sample or use it in another panel.

It turns out that at the end I only had a few minutes to describe my own experiments with hot glass that I've been doing for the past few months.
I showed the panel that I finished using the pressed glass that I made over the past few months at Third Degree Glass Factory here in St. Louis. With the help of Jessica Cope, I've been working with carving graphite and then pressing hot glass to create pieces of glass to put into stained glass panels.

The finished panel features a short poem by William Carlos Williams, perhaps my favorite of his. The style is certainly unusual for me, though thematically it fits in with the Quotation series that I've been doing for more than 10 years now.

In the afternoon, I went to hear the talk by Karen Mulder about 'Neues Glas' artists in Germany, post WW2. She focused on names familiar to all who've worked in stained glass over the past 20-30 years - Schaffrath, Meisterman, Poensgen and expecially Schreiter. It's curious that there was no mention of Stockhausen, whose work doesn't fit in easily with the "Neues Glas" German artists, since his work is representational.
The talk made me think how much I miss academic language. It is so wonderfully absurd sometimes. I can't ever take a word like 'architectonic' seriously, but I love hearing it nonetheless. Don't get me started...

Looked in at the Live Auction to see what would happen to the SG Exquiste Corpse. It was fun to see the 'corpse' assembled and to have a chance to talk with people about it. GAS participants have a curiously hard time in conceptualizing the idea of collaborative projects. I'm still mulling that one over. I think it has something to do with there being so much focus on the individual artistic temperament, that the notion of an equal and collaborative art project is something hard to fathom. As I say, curious.

The SG Exquisite Corpse ended up being purchased by a glass artist from Michigan, a flameworker who used to work in stained glass. I helped disassemble it for him and his wife. Nice people. I know they will give it a good home and a place of honor.

Closing night party - at the City Museum.
Simply put, if you are an artist and you visit St. Louis, go to the City Museum. It is almost impossible to describe, as I've not seen anything quite like it anywhere else. Part playground, part cultural history museum, part aquarium, part giant sculpture, part strange urban relic, and totally fun and amazing.

GAS Conference Week - day 6
Sunday June 18th, 2006
post conference workshop
Screenprinting for Stained Glass
at the Third Degree Glass Factory

A workshop with the Xpresscreen machine to show the thermal screen printing process and to demonstrate in greater detail the different methods of screenprinting on glass, both in terms of the screenprint/handbrush method and the more typical screenprinting for creating multiple copies. I have plans to expand this workshop into a full three or four day workshop that would include the computer work, the processing of the screens, the screening of the paint, firing and subsequent matt or color work. More as this develops...

and then, Sunday night, it was over.
Interesting to have a week which can manage to be totally invigorating and totally exhausting at the same time.

With the SGAA conference ending just a week after the GAS conference and the AGG conference coming up in July, my brain is inundated with thoughts (and some suggestions) regarding glass art associations and conferences. I'll try to tame those thoughts into coherent english in the next week or so and post them.

Posted by Tom at 08:10 AM

June 18, 2006

GAS STL 2006 over (nearly)


The last official ceremonies are over, but I still have one more workshop to teach, so the conference is not over for me unitl tonight.

Indeed it proved too much to try to blog during the conference, and it will likely take me about a week to absorb all the material and start posting items. Just way too many things to relate. A fascinating, sometimes frustrating, sometimes exciting and very exhausting week.

Posted by Tom at 09:40 AM

June 15, 2006

GAS 2006 - day 1? 2? 0?

The conference has not even officially begun and I'm exhausted. I taught the Stained Glass Design workshop on Tuesday and conducted the Stained Glass Tour yesterday. Now it's time to watch others (and save my voice) for a day or two before before the demo on Saturday.

Highlights of the stained glass tour -

* Hearing Rabbi Stiffman, Rabbi Emeritus at Shaare Emeth, sharing his stories about Dale Chihuly circa 1980 ("a nice, humble young man who liked to hang out at the office" - really!). Rabbi Stiffman's presence was a real treat, giving background on both the Gilula and Chihuly commissions with a genuine sense of affection and good humor. And yes, it is interesting to show people a site where there are two glass commissions, one by Dale Chihuly - but where the Non-Chihuly looks more like a 'Chihuly' than the actual Chihuly commission.

* Seeing the sheer variety of people on the tour. There were a little over 30 people on the tour and I saw name tags from states all over the US and a few from beyond. Only one local St. Louisan though - curious.

* Talking with Paul Davies of the University of Sunderland in the UK and surprising him when I said I had visited the now closed Hartley Wood Glass Factory in Sunderland. Very interesting to hear of some of the things going in Sunderland now.

*Finally getting a chance to meet J. Kenneth Leap, one of the best glass painters of my generation. Fascinating to hear of the 'float glass painting' work he is doing with the Derix Studios in Germany.

The quality and variety of stained glass on the tour worked out well. The group were all impressed and stunned by sites like the Cathedral Basilica, with it's huge volume of mosaics; and by the striking Art Deco windows at St. Mark's, with its powerful themes of social justice, so unusual in an ecclesiatical stained glass commission.

Posted by Tom at 06:41 AM

June 11, 2006

Pre GAS Conference

The 36th Annual Glass Art Society Conference starts in just a few days.
A very busy week for me with 2 workshops, a stained glass tour, setting up the Stained Glass Exquisite Corpse for the Live Auction, not to mention my own demonstration. Plus, of course, all the standard conference schmoozing.

I will either be posting throughout the week or will do a series of longer posts in the week after the conference. I would like to do the small posts during the conference, but that small, still voice inside says I'm crazy to even contemplate it. Nevertheless, I will be blogging this event one way or another.

First - a sneak peek
sites related to the Stained Glass Tour -
from the Vitreosity archives-
Shaare Emeth - Chihuly Windows
Shaare Emeth - Gilula and Frankel Glass Sculpture
St Mark's Episcopal
St. Louis Cathedral Basilica
Second Presbytarion
Cochran/Derix at the Regional Arts Commission

Posted by Tom at 03:41 PM

June 20, 2005

Thoughts on not going - SGAA Denver 2005

For various reasons, I'm not going to the SGAA conference this year in Denver. My feelings, as always regarding the SGAA, are mixed. I've not seen any benefit in being a member of the SGAA and so I have no interest in the business part of it. The membership does not well represent the state of the art in stained glass design. That is, I admire many more stained glass artists who are not a part of the SGAA than I do the ones who are a part of the SGAA. I don't even see the benefit in terms of joining to subscribe to their magazine, the Stained Glass Quarterly, seeing how that publication has gone so far downhill in the past decade and I haven't heard of any signs that it is trying to improve itself. I know the Quarterly has a long history and it's gone through good and bad runs for more than 70 years. Still, for a long time, the Quarterly was the best thing to come out of the SGAA. It's sad to see the quality decline so much.

My going to the conference last year had as much to do with visiting old friends and colleagues in Boston as with going to the conference. The conference, unfortunately, just reinforced my negative views of the SGAA. This despite the valiant efforts of the local organizers, who did a great job in spite of the SGAA shenanigans.

Still, they are doing something a little different with the conference this year. They have a specific subject - painting on glass. It's a good idea and I hope it works out for attendees. I know for many the best part of the conference last year in Boston was the workshop style program done on restoration at Emmanuel Church. Alas, I missed it. So, I hope the painting workshops work well. For me, the workshops of most interest would be the ones with Peter McGrain and the ones with the Derix rep talking about the float glass painting and acid etching. The St. Louis window that I posted on recently is pictured in the program schedule. I assume that commission will be discussed.

I have heard that they are going to be using only lead-free paint in the workshops. GOOD! It's about time. Have I mentioned how strongly I believe that all stained glass artists should go to using all lead free glass paint. Frankly, I don't see any reason to keep lead-based glass paint on the market. There appears to be no indication to doubt the lead-free paint on technical terms - i.e. it fires in well and is as permament as lead-based. If so, why is the lead-based paint needed? Because it 'feels' different to use it? Please.

I will be sorry to miss another conference with Peter McGrain. I've known of his work for a long time and admire his wild sense of graphic experimentation. Okay, one small criticism - he needs to update his website.

...more if I hear any buzz...

Posted by Tom at 03:47 PM

July 16, 2004

My friend Alice

I should mention that while I was in the Boston area I stayed with Alice Johnson, a good friend and patron and rather amazing stained glass artist.

One of my favorite panels by Alice is this cat dreaming of being a tiger.

Alice is also the one who commissioned the panel that won me the SGAA Corning International Open Competition Prize (or something like that) back in the late 80's. She was also the prime mover (with Nancy Nicholson) of the fun and fascinating Stained Glass Exquisite Corpse project from about ten years ago.
more later.....

Posted by Tom at 09:17 AM

July 15, 2004

SGAA Boston 2004 - Day by Day

Note that this is my own version of the conference. I did not see everything and so cannot comment on everything. Such is conference life.

DAY ONE - Saturday, June 26, 2004
My day started with tours of Church of the Covenant and Arlington Street Church, both in Boston and walking distance from the Park Plaza, where the conference was located. Church of the Covenant has many Tiffany Studio windows, and a nice St. Francis window by Reynolds, Francis and Rohnstock. Arlington has a full program of Tiffany windows, featuring some of the very best designs by Frederick Wilson, one of Tiffany's top designers.

This is a detail of the St. Francis window, Church of the Covenant -
I especially like the birds in the lower right looking up to St. Francis.

Here is one of my favorites from Arlington St. Church, designed by Wilson - "Madonna of the Flowers"

The highlight of the day was undoubtedly the talk by Debora Coombs in the afternoon. Alas, her website doesn't give the full picture. I was very impressed by the new windows she is doing at Marble Collegiate Church in NYC. What a relief to see someone emphasizing drawing as a skill needed for a stained glass artist/designer/painter.

This day also featured the first general assembly and in the evening there was the opening reception and buffet, always a good chance to reconnect with those friends and colleagues you haven't seen in a long time and meet those you have heard of but never met. The highlight here was to see and meet Albinas Elskus, who got a big round of applause when he was first introduced.

DAY TWO - Sunday, June 27, 2004
Dick Millard gave a talk on doing transparent sketches. The highlight was seeing the sketches themselves - I'd heard about them for years.

Karen Long gave a talk on lead safety. A tough, straight shooting talk about how studios need to have written lead safety compliance plans and work toward enforcing those plans. And they need to do this NOW. Some related links are the OSHA website, the OSHA lead information page, the EPA website, the OSHA small business assistance program webpage.
This is important stuff. There are still too many studios who swing wildly between denial and paranoia when it comes to lead safety. The key is in educating yourself and using common sense.

Later in the morning there was a tour of the Christian Science Church and the Mapparium. Some highlights - First, from the oldest part of the building, there were some fairly primitive opalescent windows. I like this detail from a peacable kingdom window, a subject I've long thought about doing myself.

Then, in the newer part of the building, there are some nicely painted decorative windows. In general, I liked these better than the opalescent. Very solid design and well painted.
and a detail

As for the Mapparium, it is stunning in some ways and pretty creepy in others. The Mapparium is a 30 foot diameter painted glass 3D representation of the earth. You walk inside it and see a light and sound show. For me, it's most interesting as a technical achievement. As an experience of a work of art, I find it pretty creepy. I may be out of step with the times regarding current exhibition practices - one could say that the Mapparium is ahead of it's time in that it presents a work of art like a theme park ride. Some might even view it as a 'conceptual installation piece'. I'm enough of a curmudgeon to say that's exactly what I don't like about it.

In the afternoon, there was a tour/talk with Julie Sloan on the windows of Trinity Church. When I lived in Boston I spent many hours in Trinity Church, so I have many fond memories here as well, and my own favorites. Many on the tour liked the Margaret Redmond windows more than the large imposing LaFarge windows.
My favorite remains the Baptistry Window, designed by Edward Burne-Jones.
Not a very good photo, but here it is.
Many of the Burne-Jones windows have such little variety of character. This one is different. Alas, I could not get closer to photograph any details. This window is best in its details.

DAY THREE - Monday, June 28, 2004
In the early a.m. Barbara Kreueger spoke of her experience with doing a Statewide Survey of Stained Glass Windows for Michigan.

Then the one and only Virginia Raguin gave some historical background on American stained glass. I've known Virginia for over 20 years now and have heard her speak many times. There are few in Academia who can match her enthusiasm and energy.

There was a professional overview of current Stained Glass Conservation practices given by Art Femenella.

Jean Farnsworth gave a talk related to her book Stained Glass in Catholic Philadelphia. On this same website there is also an impressive Gallery of Stained Glass at St. Joseph's University. Lots of Munich style windows and quite a few curiosities.

Sylvia Nicolas showed some of her work, as did her son Diego Semprun Nicolas.

Alan Joslin gave a talk on the collaborative process of architect and artisan by way of talking of the creation of the Glavin Chapel at Babson College. Peter McGrain worked on this with Alan and the other artisans.

Finally, Lyn Hovey gave an overview of his studio work for the past 30 years. I worked for Lyn in the 80's so I saw quite a few familiar works and a few that I had not seen before.

That evening there was a reception at the Boston Public Library sponsored by the Connick Foundation. Much credit should be given to Marilyn Justice of the Connick Foundation to get the exhibit up and running on short notice.
Unfortunately, the website for the Connick foundation still does not have any gallery yet, or even links to any Connick sites. The least they could do is to include some links to websites that feature Connick windows, such as this one for the Alexander Browning Library in Texas... or this from All Saint's Parish Church in Brookline, Mass. This church contains Connick windows spanning from 1912 to 1986!

DAY FOUR - Monday, June 29, 2004
In the morning I visited the studio of Dan Maher. I've known Dan for over 20 years and worked with him and for him for many years. He showed me a nice commission for a Memorial Window he had just finished for Youville Hospital in Cambridge, Mass. A detail -
There is no paint on these windows. This is all done on flashed glass. Great stuff!

I went back to the conference in the afternoon to hear the talk by Dick Millard on "The Educational Challenge". For those who do not know him (and in the professional world of stained glass there are very few who do not know him) Dick Millard has been working professionally in stained glass for something like 50 years. He is, to put it mildly, outspoken in his opinions.
He gave some background on 'the education of the stained glass artist' in the past 50 years. It was most interesting to hear his description of going through the now defunct 'formal apprenticeship program' back inthe 50's, along with the likes of Albinas Elskus. He then gave a rather scathing assessment of efforts by the SGAA over the years to incorporate the idea of education into their activities (unfortunately, the failure of the "Stained Glass School' at Flagler College made for a low buzz throughout the entire conference).
He then went into his own vision for a stained glass education. The various components, a course of study, that would make for a well rounded stained glass artist. Most of it concentrating on the technical aspects, emphasizing integrity (no nepotism) and quality (choose the best, not the best connected). I would agree with Dick in that the biggest obstacle remains the attitudes of the studios themselves, in hanging on to outdated ideas about the fear of 'teaching your competitors' and letting out 'trade secrets' and the like. Fear and complacency remain the biggest enemies. I would disagree with Dick in that I believe it will have to happen through fine art departments in academic institutions or, at least, art schools. Workshops and single courses through studios will not be enough.
At the very least, I hope this opens up debate on how to train and educate people for doing stained glass. It is an important issue and not an easy one. But it is the key to the future success of stained glass. There is no formal program of study in stained glass at all in the USA. There are glass programs galore, due to the popularity of the studio glass movement, but stained glass has never really fit within the studio glass movement. Those glass programs may or may not have a few classes in stained glass, but no entire course of study that is specifically for stained glass.

I like Dick Millard. I don't always agree with his opinions or his manner of delivery, but I admire his candor. We need it. I also like his stained glass work and wish there were some of it to see on the web. I could find none. It's too bad because he remains an excellent designer and painter of stained glass. I wish more people saw his work.

I was sorry that I missed the presentation by Stephen Lambert of Lambert Glass. I liked the little CD/movie from Lambert's that was part of the conference package.

On the whole the conference had much to admire and much of the credit is due to Maria Serpentino of Serpentino Studios for being the organizational force behind it all.

Posted by Tom at 06:51 AM

June 25, 2004

SGAA Conference Day 1 - sort of

Okay, the official registration is not until tomorrow and the only event I attended today was a tour of Memorial Hall at Harvard University. But Memorial Hall is pretty amazing. The pictures on the Harvard website are very tiny and do not do the windows justice. It's too bad. Seeing Memorial Hall brought back many memories for me as I used to live and work in Cambridge and I've walked by the building literally thousands of times in my life.

Julie Sloan, the consultant on the restoration some 15 years ago, was the moderator for the tour. She did a great job - lots of interesting insights, as usual.

It looks like I won't have access to a computer for the next few days so I will store up the info and 'blog the conference' on Thursday or Friday.

Posted by Tom at 06:42 PM