If you are near Dorchester Abbey, Oxfordshire today (I will be about 4000 miles away, alas), there looks to be an interesting talk by Martin Harrison (author of the very good and hard to find book Victorian Stained Glass) on the stained glass of John Piper as part of the exhibit John Piper and The Church, at Dorchester Abbey, Oxfordshire, 21 April - 10 June 2012.
I did a short blog post about 5 years ago on John Piper, featuring his Nativity window, Christud Natus Est!, which I quite like. At that time there was a John Piper website, which is now gone (http://www.johnpiper.org.uk - archived page)
But such is the quasi-organic nature of the web that while some things disappear, other surprising things pop up to replace them.
Desert Island Discs is a BBC radio show that has been airing continuously since 1942. In the show, guests are invited to imagine themselves cast away on a desert island, and to choose eight pieces of music to bring with them. Subsequently, as the mix of music and conversation proceeds, you get a mini-biography of the person via their favorite pieces of music. It's a great concept and I can see how it has lasted so long.
All the programs from the past 25 years are now available to listen to online. Recently they started posting episodes from pre-1986, adding an additional 445 programs. Currently they have archived and posted over 1,500 past programs, the earliest going back to 1951.
One of the episodes that came online in just the past few weeks is with artist John Piper who, as far as I can tell, is the only stained glass related personality to be interviewed in the 70 years of the program. He only talks briefly of his stained glass work but the program is interesting nonetheless, mostly as a time capsule into British culture of the mid-20th century.
In general, I'm big on listening to radio shows like this (audiobooks too) when I'm working on the bench.
I like the Dome of Light. It's an amazing achievement and rightly seen as a great culmination of Quagliata's career. Plus, getting a view of the work in process is fascinating. One caveat though. I'm not sure how other people feel, but Narcissus' artsy pretentious jargon always makes me want to scream (the music doesn't help either). Is it just me?
When editing the Dec 2011 issue of the AGGnews, I was struck by this picture I got from James Yarnall. This is a photo af John La Farge in his studio. You don't see many "in studio" shots of American stained glass artists of the 19th century. I only wish this one involved a stained glass commission.
click to see larger image in new window
John La Farge in His Studio, 1895. From Frank Jewett Mather Jr., “John La Farge—An Appreciation, ” World’s Work, vol. 21 (Mar. 1911), p. 14092. Standing in a white smock, La Farge pauses while working on his mural of Athens, now in the Walker Art Building, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine. The figure on the scaffolding is his son and assistant Bancel La Farge; the female figure with her back to the camera is Juliette Hanson, his chief glass painter.
The photo is from an article in the book World's Work, Volume 21 (link goes to Google Books). It's an odd volume, filled with a wide variety of articles on a wide variety of subjects. You can download a pdf of the whole volume, but be aware that it's 880 pages long.
I've extracted out the 15 page La Farge article as a pdf (La_Farge_ApprWW-1911.pdf, opens a 1.5 mb file in a new window). It's called John La Farge - An Appreciation, and it's by Frank Jewett Mather.
There is a new biography of John La Farge by James L. Yarnall, coming out just this month. It's billed as being the first biography of La Farge in a century. The book is called John La Farge, A Biographical and Critical Study. I haven't seen the book yet, but I have heard James Yarnall speak on more than one occasion and he's the best speaker I've ever heard on the subject of the life and work of John La Farge. I doubt it will disappoint.
Most of the videos on YouTube about specific stained glass windows in specific installations are bad. I see dozens a year and the majority are unwatchable past a few seconds. Often, the sound/photography/editing quality is poor and the speaker is inarticulate, so the stained glass comes off poorly, even if the stained glass itself is good (which usually it isn't).
This video is an exception. The Rabbi's narrative is interesting and connected with the subject, and the sound quality is good. The photography and editing is simple but well done. Mercifully, there is no cheesy music slathered over the whole thing to try and evoke a mood. It shows what can be done well, even when the budget is not big.
Rodney Winfield as a stained glass designer is best known for the Space Window at the National Cathedral, the one with the moon rock incorporated into the panel.
photos via CC, from flickrite ehpien.
click to enlarge
Also posted today by Bud Dillon, the same one who made the Shaare Zedek video - a video of a brief interview with the Rodney Winfield on the creation of the Space Window. The interview is not as well made as the Shaare Zedek video, and it's way too short (4 1/2 minutes), but it is always good to see a face associated with a name. Plus, there are a few interesting bits of information.
More palaver from Judith Schaechter, and good palaver it is.
I think the section in the middle about "Body Dysmorphia" is perhaps the best part, certainly the most interesting in light of Judith's work.
Much to mull over.
[update - In the comments section for the blog post, there is a link to an article from last month on the Wall Street Journal website, called The Art Assembly Line, about the increasing use of assitants by contemporary artists. Scroll down to see an interesting graphic that notes artists through the ages who have used assistants. No mention of Louis Comfort Tiffany and his stained glass I notice.]
An article via @StainedGlass1 on twitter, a web post from BBC newss - Shropshire stained glass artist Jane Gray's life story.
A stained glass artist almost entirely unknown in the USA. Worth a look, definitely. They do mention a book about Gray called Playing With Rainbows. It does not appear to be available in the US.
A Flickr search for "Jane Gray" Stained Glass yields some interesting results, such as this 900th Anniversary Window: Christchurch Priory, Dorse
Photographed also by flickrite amandbhslater -
click image to get larger view in new wiindow
There is a blog post from the Smithsonian with a brief interview of Judith Schaechter - On View at the Renwick: Judith Schaechter’s Stained Glass Works Shatter Convention.
The Renwick website also has a video of a panel discussion, called Everything Old is New Again with Judith as one of 4 people speaking. I've only skimmed it so far. but from what I can tell, there is not much to hear. Judith speaks from about 0:37 to 0:39 (the total is 1:15), and she doesn't really enter into the discussion until some time past the 0:54 minute mark. The questions toward the end are better that in the talk. The speakers, with the exception of Judith, come off a bit on the dull and pretentious side, for my taste. Again, this is on a fairly quick skim through, so decide for yourself.
Eclectix Interview 10: Judith Schaechter, from Eclectix Etc.
Another nicely done video interview with stained glass artist Brian Clarke, this time made by a group of year three students from the University of Westminster, UK.
I would disagree with what he says about painting turning away from religion only at the time of the impressionists (I would put it at a good 150-200 years earlier), but I do agree with his sentiments about transmitted light in stained glass, and how the play of light through glass makes for a truly unique and "transilluminating" experience.
Previous post on Brian Clarke - Artist Brian Clarke talks about Glass and Light
Video of an installation of a nice window from a Scottish stained glass artist Lorraine Lamond, who I'd never heard of until I'd seen this video. It's a nice simple painted style and, a big plus, the window has lots of yummy gold pink glass....
but man oh man she needs a better website.
[update September 9, 2010 - just got a note from Mark Campbell, who worked on the installation in the video. He wanted it known that Lorraine Lamond is indeed working on a new website, though it's still in early stages - www.lorrainelamond.com.]
Apprenticed in stained glass early in his career, and returning to stained glass late in his life, the artist Sigmar Polke has died at the age of 69.
The opening for the new Judith Schaechter gallery show at Claire Oliver Gallery, Beauty and the Beef, was last weekend, and I am so sorry I couldn't be there. The exhibition is up through June 26th, 2010. You can see the official press release for Beauty and the Beef (one page pdf).
I did this interview with Judith Schaechter as part of the latest newsletter for the American Glass Guild, which I edited. It's a four page pdf, and 1.5mb.
There is also this video on YouTube, that I mentioned in a post about 6 months ago, but did not embed. Here is the embed. In the light of seeing the finished pieces it's interesting to see the same panels while they were in process.
There is a video now available called 'Friday Arts for April 2, 2010' (no embed available), from a broadcast on Philadelphia Public TV. I'm not sure if they have any other name for it. No matter, since the only important thing is that the first section is about Judith Schaechter, contemporary stained glass artist extraordinaire. She starts at about a minute in and goes to about 7:25. Judith is just finishing work for a new exhibit at Claire Oliver Gallery, opening May 22. The new pieces look amazing, upping both the technical and graphical limits of her work. She's been updating the progress of these panels regularly on her blog, Late Breaking Noose. Go back several months and check them all out. Well worth it.
Detail, The Minotaur, stained glass panel, Judith Schaechter, 2010
Flickr continues to amaze me.
I found today a page called Signatures in Glass, from Flickrite 'Budby'. There are 96 images, all from English Churches. What a useful and amazing resource for a stained glass researcher, or conservator. And it's fun to browse through, as well.
One screenshot as an example - Geoffrey Webb signature
An interview with Mississipi based stained glass artist Andy Young. Andy and I were both in a group gallery show called "The Glass Canvas", in Boston, way back in 1993, before either of us had any grey hair.
He talks in the video (from around 7:30 to 9:00) about a set of windows he did for a chapel in a Retirement Village in Asheville, North Carolina. I should note that the American Glass Guild will be having their 2011 conference in Asheville, and there is a strong likelihood that these windows will be a part of the bus tour.
This is short, less than 2 minutes, but interesting. I'd never seen an interview with Brian Clarke before and so it's interesting to see him and hear his words.
Brian Clarke is one of those big name stained glass artists whose work I've heard of for a long time and seen lots of pictures of, but have mixed feelings about. He does mostly large-scale abstract works for secular spaces. That's all well and good, but the images I've seen all seem a bit dull and corporate to me. Still, I'm keeping an open mind until I see an actual work of his. I tried, about 2 years ago, as I was driving through Connecticut, to see his Stamford Cone, located at the headquarters building of the Swiss Banking Corporation, but I couldn't find it. I even asked several locals for directions but none of them had heard of it. Some day.
Not much posting recently, partly because I've been busy and partly because all the posts I've tried to do recently just get bigger and bigger and I can't figure out how to tie them up into a coherent whole. This is one example and I've decided to just let it go, rambling and imperfect as it is. Maybe I'll hone it later, but for now, here it is -
When I first saw this image on Flickr a few months ago, I thought it was the work of some obscure artist from the 1970's or even more recent. I guess I was fooled by the fact that the faces are created with the leadlines, not with paint, something that is quite rare before the 1970's. It turns out this piece is from 1904 and is by Stanisław Wyspiański (1869 – 1907). The panel is called 'Apollo: the Copernican solar system' and it's located in the Medical Society House at 4 Radziwillowska street, Cracow, Poland.
It also turns out that Wyspiański is an especially unique and interesting artist.
More below the fold....
Interesting segment about the making of the Apollo panel.
Drawing for the Apollo Panel.
Stanisław Wyspiański is best known in his native Cracow, Poland, as a playwright, and most well known for the 1901 play The Wedding. There is a movie version of the The Wedding on YouTube, though it's in Polish with no English subtitles.
These images are all Wikimedia Common files.
This looks to be a design for stained glass.
He did a number of self portraits.
And family scenes
Illustration for a series on Heroic and mythical figures - this one of Agammenon and Menelaus, from The Iliad.
Curious fact - Wyspia%C5%84ski (b. 1869) was part of an eclectic group of artists/architects/illustrators born between 1867-1869, all of whom had eclectic careers, and the only thing they had in common was that they all made some mark on the art of stained glass. The others include Frank Lloyd Wright (b. 1867), Johan Thorn Prikker (b. 1868), Charles Rennie Mackintosh (b. 1868), and Henri Matisse (b. 1869). Did someone say the word 'Zietgeist'?
Various links related to the Crakow Franciscan Church
krakow.pl.com features more general information on Wyspiański.
The stained glass windows of Wyspiański's design St. Stanislaus of Szczepanów, Henry II the Pious and Casimir III the Great, designed for the Wawel Cathedral, only saw light of day in the windows of the Pavilion Wyspiański 2000, founded by the City of Krakow and opened to the public in 2007.
Wajda’s concept assumed that the façade of the building could make use of Stanisław Wyspiański’s three stained-glass works presenting St Stanislaus, Prince Henry the Pious (Henryk Pobożny), and King Casimir the Great (Kazimierz Wielki), which the artist had designed for Wawel Cathedral in a project that was never implemented.
Naturally, Wajda’s idea became the subject of disputes that questioned, for example, the sombre and eschatological climate of the proposed stained-glass decoration. The Saint and the Prince are presented at the moments of their death, while the image of the King – the bare skull wearing the Royal Crown – is what Wyspiański saw after opening the King’s coffin 600 years after his death.
I have some more details of this window that I will post as I have time...
A very nice Flickr group featuring the stained glass of Lawrence Lee (b.1909).
Here are 2 striking details from St John the Baptist Church, Bisley, Surrey, England. Curiously, there are no full panel shots on which to compare. [wrong! see update below]
both images are via creative commons license from the Lawrence Lee flickrset of auntie_p, who is the main contributor to the Lawrence Lee Flickr group.
In the USA, Lawrence Lee is best known for the book he co-wrote with George Seddon, and Francis Stephens, called simply "Stained Glass". It is, in my opinion, the best introductory book on stained glass history. Well done all around - illustrations, photographs, general selection of sites, and overall structure. No initial introduction comes close to the quality of this book.
In my opinion, this is a must for any serious student of the art and technique of stained glass, especially any beginning student.
The cover of my own well worn copy of 'Stained Glass'.
Images or previews of the contents are hard to find, mainly due to the book's size, which is unusually large, at 14 ½" high by 11" wide. So, I quickly cobbled together this image of the York Minster page spread to give an example of one of its 'Cathedral' pages. There are other similar spreads for Chartres, Notre Dame, Toledo and others.
Click on the link or image to see a high resolution 'Zoomified' version of the Minster Spread.
Though out of print, it's surprisingly easy to find good inexpensive copies of the book. As of this writing, the second edition from 1984 can be purchased through Amazon for as little as $1.39, plus $3.99 for shipping. Also, a quick search for Stained Glass at ALibris also brings up used copies starting at $2.
[update January 22, 2010 - heard from flickrite Auntie_P, who points out that there is, in fact, a full shot of the Bisley window in the Lawrence Lee stained glass group pool. Here is the full shot...
She also pointed out to me that this is part of a larger project of gathering the photos of Lawrence Lee's work, including Lee's own photographs and sketches. Big project. Good Luck with the venture!!}
Short Notice, but if you are in the Boston area this Sunday you might want to check out a lecture by Albert Tanner called 'Windows are architecture’: William Morris, Viollet-le-Duc, and the Artistic Journey of Charles J. Connick”, at The Church of Our Saviour, 25 Monmouth Street, Longwood, Brookline, Mass., at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 18, 2009. The lectre is co-sponsored by the Connick Foundation. More details in the pdf flyer.
If you want to see a preview of one part of the talk, look at this exchange between Harry Goodhue and Sarah Whitman in these Stained Glass articles in Handicraft, 1903 (this also opens a pdf).
The trailer for the documentary film 'Darkness In Light', about the Irish stained glass artist Harry Clarke, directed by John J. Doherty.
There is a good long Movie Review of 'Harry Clarke - Darkness In Light' on blogcritcs.com. I've known of this documentary for awhile but haven't had the chance to see it yet. This very nice trailer will definitely bump it up on the list....
Nice set of images from Judith Schaechter's class at Pilchuck.
by Sarah Tippett
I think I like this one best because I am very much in a blue phase with my work.
Tudeley Church, Kent, England
12 windows by Marc Chagall, and one of only 2 sites in Great Britain with Chagall windows.
The windows date from 1967 to 1985, the year of Chagall's death.
The Great East Window, 1967, a memorial tribute to Sarah d'Avigdor-Goldsmid.
click to enlarge
photo by flickrite ruthandjohnny...
Flickr Search for 'Tudeley' + 'Chagall'.
Lots of good stuff here. Take the time to search out the details.
Here's a video tour of the church. As usual in an amatuer video, it's a bit shaky and too contrasty, but it does give some idea of the layout, and as an extra bonus (this being a group of Dowsers doing the tour) you get to know how the energy flows around the building...
I've been to Holy Trinity and it's always a treat seeing a church that has a full program of panels by one artist, especially when it's of this caliber. I must admit that my favorite aspect of Holiday's work isn't usually the faces, but the patterning on the clothing. It's always amazingly precise and beautiful. You can see it here in this Populi Domini panel from St. Mary's, Buckland, Oxfordshire, England, via the always amazing Flickrite Lawrence OP.
If you really like Henry Holiday's stained glass, then definitely check out his book on stained glass - Stained Glass as an Art. It's an interesting read, though he does rail on a bit too much on what he doesn't like (Munich Glass, American Opalescent Glass, stained glass done to imitate Medieval Glass, and more). The most interesting part of the book comes in seeing his designs, especially the ones showing the preliminary "Naked" cartoon, then comparing it to the "Final" cartoon, then finally to the finished window. It really demonstrates how much of a classicist Holiday was.
[update May 14, 2009 - Just the other day I found a snapshot from when I saw the window in 1986 and though it's not a great quality photo, it is just good enough for a web-based side by side comparison.
Christ the Consoler and the Seven Acts of Mercy,
East Window in the Church of St. Luke’s Hospital, New York
left and center images from Henry Holiday's Stained Glass as an Art.
right image by Tom Krepcio, circa 1986.]
Of course, Henry Holiday is probably best known for another book, which Lewis Carroll wrote and Henry Holiday illustrated - The Hunting of the Snark. My favorite of the Snark illustrations is this one from my favorite chapter, or 'fit' - The Beaver's Lesson.
It should be noted that Holiday is generally considered the least successful of Carroll's illustrators. Holiday's classical training is seen as being a hindrance to him doing successful caricature. I like his illustrations, but I can see the point.
More info than you're likely to want to know about Hunting of the Snark on answers.com.
link sent to me by Frans in the Netherlands -
A photo album on Picasa of Johan Thorn Prikker stained glass. A compliment to the YouTube video of Thorn Prikker's work I posted about last year. This is for those who want to see those panels, but not in motion. No site or date information alas.
detail of window by Johan Thorn Prikker.
via AISG -
Luminous Journeys - a documentary on the Sarah Hall Studio, out of Toronto. Split into four pieces and put up on YouTube - this is part 4 (of 4) which covers her work with photovoltaics.
There are 4 altogether - see the rest at her SarahHallStudio YouTube channel
I suspect we'll be seeing much more of this kind of thing in the coming years - mini documentaries and promotional pieces from stained glass artists.
I've recently come across some references on the web to Boston-based stained glass artist Sarah Wyman Whitman (1842-1904). She led a varied life, as she was also a prominent book designer, a friend of literary figures, a passionate supporter of women's education and a prominent fixture of gilded-age era Boston society.
Sarah Wyman Whitman
Start with this article in Harvard Magazine by Betty Smith, from Jan/Feb 2008 - Sarah Wyman Whitman: Brief life of a determined artist: 1842-1904. Betty Smith is the preeminent Sarah Whitman scholar.
then proceed to more pictures and links...
As well as the Betty Smith article, I came across a few other general articles or blog entries on Sarah Whitman. One on the website called handsome books. Another as a nice blog post on the blog Japonisme, with lots of links. And another blog post on Words Simple as Grass, focusing on her friendship with Sarah Orne Jewett.
Though I first heard of her as a stained glass artist, she is probably best known as a book designer. For the book covers she developed a uniquely minimalist art nouveau style.
The Boston Public Library has put up an amazing Flickrset of Sarah Wyman Whitman's Book Bindings. Over 350 images!
There is another collection of her book covers in Publishers' Bindings Online.
Her stained glass work is terribly under-represented on the web. Nothing but the sketchiest of information and the quality of the photos is remarkably poor even for her best known work. And, of course, there is nothing about her working methods or her studio.
Whitman's stained glass tended to be in the mold of John LaFarge. That certainly holds true for what may be her best known work - the windows she did for Memorial Hall, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
Large 'transept' rose window, called the Brimmer window - 1898
Memorial hall was built as a memorial to Harvard students who were killed in the American Civil War.
Honor and Peace, Annenberg Hall, Harvard, 1900
Annenberg Hall is currently the freshman dining hall, so access to this part of the building is limited.
The Memorial Hall windows might be considered her 'grand style'. She also has another style in stained glass, related more to the book design work. A lighter style, again, a kind of minimalist art nouveau. Often featuring a lattice work with repeated accents of jewels and perhaps a centerpiece with a wreath or a shield.
This style of work is more difficult to find, and almost non-existent on the web. The only example I could find are these exterior shots of the windows she did for Trinity Church in Boston.
A wreath design at Trinity church, Boston - formally the library, now the gift shop.
This one is on the opposite side. Again, I could find no interior shots.
Skimming through the BPL 'book binding' flickrset, I noticed that there must be at least 30-40 of the book cover designs that feature some sort of wreath motif.
For example - Leicester Wreath Book Cover
The only writing I know of that Whitman did on stained glass was in an article in the magazine Handicraft, published in November of 1903 by the Society of Arts & Crafts, Boston - Googlebooks has the compilation book published in 1904 - Handicraft compilation, 1904.
Her article is a rebuttal to an article by Harry Goodhue, who wrote an article critical of "American Glass" - what we now generally refer to as opalescent style glass, typified by Tiffany or LaFarge or Sarah Whitman. Goodhue makes the argument against opalescent glass and Whitman makes the argument for it.
I downloaded the pdf of the Handicraft compilation and and took out everything but these 2 stained glass articles - It will open in a new window as a pdf - Handicraft 1903 Stained Glass articles.
I've known of this exchange for many years now and consider it a rare and fascinating glimpse into the stained glass world in Boston at the very beginning of the 20th century, when the style was just starting to change from Tiffany/LaFarge Opalescent Era stained glass to the American varient of Gothic revival as typified by Connick Studio, or in this case, Harry Goodhue.
My opinion after reading the two articles? For what it's worth, I think that while Goodhue makes a few good technical points, my sympathies are more with Whitman. Her view just seems more open-minded.
Read the two together and decide for yourself.
Sarah Whitman was well loved in Boston society. She was also a strong advocate for women's education and helped found women's educational institutions. Hence, there is a Sarah Whitman room at Radcliffe College.
She was well-loved enough that her friends published a book of her letters that was published in 1907, just three years after her death. The book is in its entirety on Googlebooks, which is especially nice since you can search for a given word, like 'glass', and it will give you every reference to that word. Pretty impressive.
August 2, 2008 pt.2 - In between going to the Glencairn Museum in the early morning and the AGG conference in the afternoon we (Dan Maher, Nancy Nicholson, and myself) picked up Judith Schaechter (gallery) at her home in Philadelphia and got a quick tour of her house and studio.
This is Nancy Nicholson, me and Judith in Judith's home studio looking at sections of her then in-progress and now installed MAD commission.
photo by Dan Maher
It was a very quick tour, no more than about 15 minutes, since we were running late. Still, lots of interesting stuff to see. And many pictures...
a.k.a. - Stuffed Animals, Stained Glass and General Stuff for a Militant Ornamentalist
Judith lives in a Victorian era house in Philadelphia, with old stained glass windows of varying quality thoughout the house.
The front door panels are some of the nicer ones.
The jewels in the front doors are especially nice.
There are various stuffed and otherwise represented animals throughout the house. I missed getting a picture of the coyote in the front window and the pictures of the raccoon and the rats came out too fuzzy. I did get these shots.
This fireplace came out a bit fuzzy as well, but it's such amazing tilework I had to show it anyway.
Even the staircase is elaborately ornate. Appropriate for someone who states her occupation as Militant Ornamentalist.
Another old window, in her bedroom, not as nice as the front door ones. It's a bold stained glass artist who puts yellow and purple together in a such a wide prominent border.
The puppets greet you on the way into the studio, though I never got the backstory.
She keeps a remarkably clean and orderly studio.
Another view showing the light table and glass racks
Judith showing off her bigtime hexacon soldering iron.
She has (I think) 5 cats.
The biggest work bench in the studio. The print on the wall seems to be an early sketch for the MAD commission and the floral artwork is also related to the MAD commission - more on that below. The photo in the upper right is of a distant relative of hers whom she mentions on her website, John Fletcher Hamlin.
More stuff -
This is called 'The Knot'. I told how nice it is to see her panels in natural light. She said she gets that a lot and that she is in no way opposed to having her work in natural light, but the market dictates.
Detail with some reflected light
Detail showing some of the layering. It's also nice to see the details of the blue background, to see how wonderfully loose and scratchy the painting is.
One more little panel with a favorite theme - car crashes.
Again, the window is now installed - see the pictures of the installation.
The full panel.
Again, the earlier sketch -
And this shows what that transparency hanging in the studio was used for - for tracing the diaper pattern in the background.
From a purely stained glass insider technical point of view, I always try to get a few shots in reflected light. To see how it was constructed, to see what is plated and what is not plated, to see what the solder line looks like.
I'm not sure if these are pieces for another section, spare pieces, or rejects or what. But it is interesting to see them.
Pieces in place, and in process.
close-up of the finished panel - wonderful wonderful stuff.
Thanks Judith for the tour and the preview of the MAD commission!
Can't wait to see the final work in place.
I've known of the animation of Frédéric Back for more than 25 years, so I was surprised when I found out he did stained glass.
I was doing a search on Flickr (for 'stained glass metro') and found this image of the Montreal Place-des-Arts Metro Station Mural. The Frédéric Back Glass Mural was the first commission for the Metro system, completed in 1967, and has a theme centered on the history of music in Montreal.
Make sure to check out the Frédéric Back website which is one of the most amazingly comprehensive websites for any living artist I've ever seen. I wasn't expecting to see anything beyond the animation, but his stained glass work is well represented. There is even a section devoted to his role in environmental activism.
Image from wikipedia entry for the Place-des-Arts commission
Detail - image from Flickrite marjolabiche
Detail - from the Montreal Metro Art Commission page -
Personally, I still think I like Crac even better. On top of that, it has a musical theme, just like the stained glass - just enjoy...
This video is of an installation in a house in Massachusetts.
Rose Trellis, by Lisa Tiemann.
Lisa was one of the first people I worked for in stained glass, nearly 30 years ago. I worked on this panel, but only for a few weeks of cutting, while on vacation in Boston in the summer of 2006. I can attest that many many hours went into making this window. It's nice to see the video because I never saw the finished piece.
The next video shows some of the foiling being done by Lisa's then assistant Serra. Serra's the one who did the 2 videos as well.
Many, many new images at Nancy Nicholson's website. It's nice to see a stained glass artist who is busy creating new work and who still manages to keep their website current. I know that she completed a Chattanooga commission just a few weeks ago and the panels are already up on her commissions page.
I love the painted foliage... and I like how the decorative exterior surrounds the center scene featuring her specialty - the stained glass cityscape
I've known Nancy as a friend and colleague for some 22 years, but I've known her work for even longer and it just keeps getting better and better. Bravo!
At long last... finally... an actual website from the one and only Judith Schaechter.
Generous supply of images (well over a hundred panels shown) and nice big images at that.
She also has a long list of links - make sure to scroll down and check out the links in 'Inspiration'.
A great figure in the world of stained glass has passed away.
A quick google search gave me this biography of Albinas Elskus from the Lithuanian Quarterly of Arts and Sciences. There is also some biographical information and a few images of his windows at St. Gertrude's Cemetery, The Good Shepherd Chapel-Mausoleum, New Jersey on another Lithuanian site.
To me and my generation of stained glass artists he is best known as the author of the book, The Art of Painting on Glass, originally published in 1980 and something of a bible of glass painting for the past 25 years. Certainly the "must have" stained glass book for stained glass artists of my generation. We all refer to it on occasion, for inspiration and for technical advice. It was reprinted a few years ago and yet the book is still scarce and all recent copies of it I've seen go for over $100.
my own copy...
The book came out at an important time in my development as a stained glass artist. I'd been a hobbyist since I was 12. I was 20 and had just started working for my first studio in 1980 when the book was published. I had my own copy soon thereafter.
For the first few years I owned it I mainly referred to 'the book' for technical advice, i.e. what vitreous paint should I use for a warmer tone?, what enamel was best for a good strong transparent pink?, etc.
an example of the 'technical stuff' - paint swatches
Then as time went on I was more inspired by his idea of using 'traditional' techniques in a more creative manner - along the lines of what he did to paint his most noteworthy autonomous works - the apples and the bees.
This 'signature technique' is one where he paints directly with the matting technique, no trace line involved. It is well demonstrated in his book (pages 124-127) and it involves a wet brush application of paint, finger painting to target the highlights and then some skillful badger blending to make it all come thogether - and there it is - the famous 'Albinas Apple'. 13 photographs on 3 pages and you can see the skill of the artist and the joy he took in creating his work.
examples of the 'creative' stuff - from the apple painting demo pages
What I took from this was not so much the desire to paint in his manner so much as it instilled in me the desire to explore the breadth and depth of stained glass technique and to develop my own unique approaches, as he did. It would not be too presumptuous to state that my trying out such things as screenprinting, improvisational design, and even my foray into computer generated stained glass design all stem from this 'experimental' spirit I met with in the pages of Albinas's book.
It is a peculiar aspect of contemporary stained glass that you can admire the work of another stained glass artist without ever having seen one of their works in fact. Such is the case with my admiration for Albinas Elskus. I have never seen one of his windows live and 'in the flesh', so to speak - only through photographs. Yet even from the photographs I've seen a unique body of work that few contemporary stained glass artists have come close to.
My favorite of his windows is the 'Chaney, Schwerner, Goodman' window in Sage Chapel at Cornell University, dedicated in 1991 to the three Civil Rights Workers killed in Mississippi on a voter registration drive in 1964.
This is Albinas Elskus at his best, combining a strong simple structural design that draws attention to the painted faces of the dead Civil Rights Workers. The painting is done in his signature style with a greater emphasis on the tonal matt painting. Even with the 'decorative' surround, there is nothing 'traditional' about this and there is nothing frilly about it either. Just stark full frontal portraits, well befitting the subject matter - as in "These men died for a good cause. Remember these faces!". Social justice is a theme that is rarely tackled in stained glass design, and here it is done in a strong and direct manner, without being overbearing or didactic.
It's one of my favorite windows from the past 20 years, though I know it only from photographs.
I never formally met Albinas Elskus, though I had a chance to thank him for his work in passing when he appeared at a book signing at the SGAA conference in Boston in 2004. It was great to see him and speak those words of admiration though he was already well past his prime after having suffered a stroke in 1993. Still, because of 'the book', I do feel that I continue to be in a kind of dialogue with him - one stained glass artist/enthusiast to another.
On a final note - I've been part of casual discussions among my generational colleagues in stained glass as to who will write the next great book on stained glass painting. That is, who can one-up Albinas Elskus's book. It's a great challenge and a tall mountain to climb. Perhaps his passing will inspire someone to make the effort. I hope someone does take the challenge and I hope they make an even greater and more inspiring book and I know they will only do it because of and in honor of Albinas Elskus.
Stumbled on this while searching for other things...
The William Vareika Fine Arts, Ltd Gallery
I've actually been to this gallery in Newport, Rhode Island (while LaFarge hopping) and so I've seen the many, many LaFarge sketches for stained glass they have at the gallery. There is a web gallery of LaFarge sketches, though the images on the website are kinda tiny. Still, you get some sense of the design approach. Worth a look.
Harry Clarke alert!!
A page linking to a video segment about the stained glass windows Harry Clarke made for Bewley's Cafe in Dublin, Ireland. The video is smallish and grainy and it features TV-news-style commentary and is therefore a bit thin on content, but it is rare to see a 6 minute TV segment on a set of stained glass windows. The 2 minute segment at the beginning is worth the effort alone just to see the series of amazingly delicious detail shots. The details were always Clarke at his best.
Not sure when the video dates from, but at the time Bewley's was set to close. Fortunately, it was saved and the place is still run as a cafe and the windows are still available to see. I've never been there but I've long dreamed of a Harry Clarke pilgrimage to Ireland. Hurry, because video links like this usually don't stay available very long.
I've always liked the work of Cappy Thompson. I just came across the page for her Seattle Tacoma Airport Window, "I was Dreaming of Spirit Animals". You have to look at the installation slide show to get a full sense of the scale of the project. I'm not sure I like the trend of enamel painting on float glass, but the panel comes off well in the slide show.
There is a 30 minute documentary on Russell Kraus called, appropriately enough, "Artist Russell Kraus" from the local St. Louis Public TV station, KETC, for viewing over the web. Look for the specific video for Kraus under 'K' and the name "Artist Russell Kraus".
Some of the other segments deal with glass artists. Look for the piece on the hot glass shop called the Third Degree Glass Factory (the studio around which the 2006 St Louis G.A.S. conference is centered), and one on City Museum Mosaic Artist Sharon VonSenden.
Lots of great new work to see at Nancy Nicholson's website.
Nancy is a longtime friend and colleague, so it's especially nice to see so much good work being generated...
With my roots going back to the early 80's in the Boston stained glass scene, I've known Linda Lichtman for a long time now. I haven't looked at her website in a while - I'm not sure how new it is but it's a nice website for a contemporary stained glass artist. Alas, there are remarkably few good websites for contemporary stained glass artists.
She mostly does abstract work. Great stuff.
Still, I must admit, I've always liked the fish the best.
Happy Birthday, Jean Cocteau. Surely, he had one of the strangest resumes for anyone designing stained glass windows in the 20th century. Poet, playwright, film director, opera designer and librettist, novelist and... a decorator of churches. I first heard of him when I was a teenager and saw his film of Beauty and the Beast on public TV.
from St Maximin in Metz, for another look here.
fishes in faces - marvelous...
and some of his quotes -
"An artist cannot speak about his art any more than a plant can discuss horticulture."
"Art is a marriage of the conscious and the unconscious."
"Art is not a pastime but a priesthood"
There are images of new work by Judith Schaechter up at Parables in Glass. For me, the key issue with Judith Schaechter as a stained glass artist is context. Compared to most stained glass design today, her work is weird or shocking. But I contend that her work is only shocking in the context of it being stained glass. If it is seen in what is the more proper context of late 20th century graphic imagery, especially that which is categorized as 'underground comics' or 'lowbrow art' or 'outsider art', her work fits right in.
Many stained glass artist don't know what to make of Scheachter's work. It seems so strange and wierd. I've never seen it as weird at all. Just reflective of a part of the culture that most stained glass artists are not involved with.
One creepy thing for me seeing her recent work is to see the dream balloon pieces. Not because the images are creepy - quite the opposite, they are some of her least brutal, almost sweet, images. The creepiness comes from the fact that I was designing 'dream balloon' panels at about the same time (starting in 2002, I believe), none of which I've yet made into panels yet. I suppose I got the idea from some of the early work of Art Spiegelman, who often played with the convention of word and thought balloons.
Sometimes I just stumble on something a bit different.
Anyway, I like these panels - Fran Wesselman, out of England.
When I was in Boston in June, I got to see some books featuring the stained glass of Gottried Von Stockhausen. Alice's husband Paul had just picked them up in Germany. I am unsure of availability in the USA but they are very nice books. One on purely autonomous work and the other on architectural work. I think I like the autonomous work a bit better (I tend to in general). But it was all very good stuff.
It's nice to be able to rethink the assumptions of the last 25-30 years regarding the 'German School' of stained glass. It is easy to get the impression that ALL German work of the last 40 years was of the Meisterman/Schaffrath/Schreiter line. Much of that work I find cold and uncompelling. This makes the expressive figural work of Stockhausen that much more unique. Even more so considering that he produced a large amount of work and that it goes back several decades.
I came across a site of Harry Clarke Illustrations. Plenty of images (63 from 'Faust' alone) at a decent size, though no images of the stained glass.
There are a few links at the site including this to a brief Harry Clarke bio where there are also a few images of the stained glass.
Seeing all this does remind me of the conundrum of Clarke that his black and white work is very strong, his stained glass work is very strong but his color illustration work is pretty weak. I've always wondered - why? I noticed this time that the color illustration work has a curious absence of black. Perhaps Clarke was an artist who needed to ground himself in black. One of the most striking things about the black and white work is how rich and expressive the black is. Certainly the stained glass works partly because, by the nature of the medium, there has to be black. Clarke was also fairly obsessive about incorporating that black into the design in stained glass windows. I've always felt this makes his designs stronger and the colors more vibrant. The color illustrations do not have that rich black to bring out the colors. The stained glass does.
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.
One of the reasons I am interested in doing this blog is to point out sites of interest as they relate to stained glass, contemporary and historical. There are not many good sites related to stained glass and not that much really good contemporary stained glass being produced out there. All the more important to point to the good stuff when I see it on the web.
My personal interest lies in work that is both traditional and progressive. My taste in stained glass, like my work in stained glass, is stylistically eclectic. The "style" of a given work is not as important as the particular idea involved and how that idea is executed into glass.
One of the better sites for Romanesque or Gothic work is this for the 12th century windows at St. Denis in Paris. It's an academic site notable for having detailed diagrams showing what has been restored and what is original. I have spent long periods of time going through this site.
For contemporary stained glass, I like the work of and the website for John K. Clark. I think it's the variety of his work and and the quality of execution that appeals to me most.
Finally, some links related to one of the best books on stained glass to come out in the past few years, Painting on Light by Barbara Butts and Lee Hendrix. The book is also available through Amazon. Note that the Getty Museum site has a small but impressive online Exhibition for Painting on Light.