I guess I'm famous now. I have officially made it into the pantheon of Netflix Envelope Doodlers. Fun idea. I like.
I don't do this very often. In fact, this is only the second time I've made a direct appeal in the six and a half years I've been doing this blog. I've never considered the blog to be money making entity, but I've spent a huge amount of my time on this and the economic times are still shaky.
If you've ever wanted to say a simple thank you for the time and effort I've put into the hundreds of entries I've done in Vitreosity, a donation would be a very nice gesture and this would be a good time. Thanks in advance to those who choose to donate.
You might notice that I've added a button on the left for donations.
I've never asked for money on this site. When I first started this blog in 2003, it didn't occur to me that the idea would ever come up. But after the number and size of entries grew, and there seemed to be a steady readership, then it seemed to me appropriate to either put up a donate button or seek advertising. Frankly, I've never wanted to clutter up the space with advertising, nor do I want to have to consider the agendas of advertisers when writing entries. Advertising on the blog may happen in the future, but with discretion and guidelines.
So a simple, easy to use donate button it is.
Why now? Aside from the stresses of the economy that everyone is feeling, I would like to upgrade the blog. Improve the look and function and, most importantly, bring back comments.
After 5½ years of blogging and over 300 blog posts, I think I can give myself permission to ask. Any help is much appreciated.
I’ve been a little over a month on twitter now -
I’m still skeptical but still interested in the possibilities.
I find the 140 character limit surprisingly intriguing, as it forces you to focus and make your thoughts clear and straightforward.
Still, the whole ‘follower’ and ‘following’ thing is confusing and a bit maddening to me, and man-o-man do I get tired of the whole ‘what I’m doing right now’ small talk and chitchat. Twitter is indeed awash with that.
So, I’m trying something different. There is a thing called ‘twibes’, and if you have a twitter account, you can join. I created a ‘twibe’ specifically for people interested in stained glass.
It aggregates twitter messages by narrowing the search to three words you choose. That is, if you have a twitter account and sign up with the ‘stained_glass twibe’, anytime you do a tweet that includes the words ‘stained’ OR ‘glass’ OR ‘art’, your tweet will be posted on the ‘stained_glass twibe’ automatically. Theoretically, you can go to the 'stained_glass twibe' site and get the links, insights and thoughts of those who are especially interested in stained glass.
I have no idea whether or not this will attract stained glass professionals or enthusiasts, or if it will further the discourse between different people interested in stained glass. It’s very new, and a guess and a gamble. But there is nothing to lose, except a little more time in following the experiment. Frankly, I’d be surprised if it worked out the way I would like or imagine.
Still, I can always mark it down to research and development.
Or in twitterspeak - Call it R&D
I have to admit that so far I don't quite 'get' Twitter. Still, I realize it's a force to be reckoned with right now on the web, so I've started a twitter feed for Vitreosity. I admit that, as of today, I have no idea where this will lead or quite what to do with it. At the very least I will likely use it to announce new blog posts, especially larger ones.
I finally got a Flickr account to compliment this blog. The account is under the name VitreosityPictures. As of today, I've uploaded 154 pictures [250 a week later], mostly older photos from posts where I had too many pictures to choose from, like these photos of the First Church of Christ Scientist, which I was unable to put include in my post on the SGAA Boston 2004 Conference.
I've begun to add a few more sites to the St. Louis Stained Glass Google Map.
I hope to add 1 or 2 locations a month, with full detailed info.
Again, this is considered to be 'in process', and suggestions or corrections welcome.
I've also started a Bottle House Google Map, based on the bottle houses/walls I've covered in this blog.
The Bottle House Map is rougher, with many having only a general sense of the location and no info on logistics, seeing that I haven't personally been to any of these sites. In that vain, it's also a little depressing to view this in the form of a map, in that it shows just how spread out and inaccessible many of the bottle house locations are. I do intend to eventually add links and selected pictures to the Bottle House Google map.
I've got other ideas for SG related Google maps, like doing a given map for the work of one artist (like to do a John LaFarge sites map), or perhaps one style in one city, making for a single manageable tour. As time allows...
I started this blog four years ago and it feels like I've been doing this a long, long time.
Still, it's been an interesting year for the blog.
On this 'blogiversary', a few thoughts and observations...
What have I learned by the experience of writing and maintaining a blog for four years? For one thing, I've learned that blogs are quite organic things, at least in the sense that they begin and end, and in between, they stretch and change direction and lie fallow and change again. Whether you want them to or not, they evolve.
Blogging itself has evolved - four years ago most blogs were run by individuals.
While most still are, many have morphed into multi person operations and others have been created as part of larger institutions. For example, newspapers are incorporating blogs featuring their main arts writers (i.e. the Boston Globe’s art blog Exhibitionist), and museums are including blogs as part of their marketing and outreach efforts (i.e. the joint blog for the Contemporary Art Museum and Pulitzer Museum in St Louis). Like it or not, the idea of the blog is being absorbed into the mainstream of arts journalism.
In terms of this blog, I have consciously moved toward doing fewer and fewer posts about me and my work, making it less and less a diary type blog. There are several reasons for this but it mainly comes down to what I'm interested in at the moment and for now I'm more interested in doing longer posts on stained glass in general, particularly on windows and subjects that are not being covered elsewhere.
My website as a whole gets from 7000 to 10000 unique visits a month, with the majority of those going to the two blogs directly. I can't tell how many go to which blog or how much they overlap.
The most trafficed blog post so far is the original post on bottle walls.
In the next month, the drawing blog will reach its one thousandth posted drawing. Yikes.
For Vitreosity, at any given time, I have anywhere from 15-20 posts in draft form, which I add to as I come across more material or as inspiration hits me. Some may never see the light of day. The original bottle wall post entry was percolating for some six months before it found its final form.
I still get the question - What is a blog?
Part of the blogging experience is to have other bloggers link to your site, or to exchange posts.
I would like to upgrade the look of the blog but probably won't get to it for a few months. October-December tend to be my busiest months. Low priority, but it will happen eventually
I would really really like to bring back comments at some point. When I had a comments section I got hit with so much comment spam that I had to take it off.
As always, I would like to post on a more regular and consistent manner - no gaps of more than a week. It turns out to be nearly impossible unless I do posts and then save them for the busy times. Again, certain months tend to be busier than others so I will likely just have to let this slide... again.
This may be dreamland speaking but, ideally, I would like Vitreosity to eventually evolve into a multi-person or community type blog on the subject of stained glass - along the lines of Drawn (for illustration) or Design Observer (for design). The advantage of this is obvious to me - having a steadier stream of entries, while being able to diversify the perspectives. It would take a good amount of time and some money to get it started, and who knows when the stars may align to make this happen, but I can see it happening some day...
After 3+ years of doing this blog thing, it's time for a little reflection on the state of blogging in the stained glass world.
...or lack thereof. There are still not many blogs related to stained glass or stained glass design. Mind you, I'm not complaining. I'm just curious.
In thinking about this conundrum, the first thing I did was to look at other 'arts' and 'crafts' disciplines to see how they've taken to this blogging thing.
Among the 'crafting crowd', the knitters seem to be the front runners in doing blogs (i.e. this, this, this and this) There have even been academic studies done on the phenomena of knitting blogs. I've also heard it pointed out that knitters do the group and community thing well, as evidenced by pre-blog things like knitting circles. I know of one that meets every Saturday morning at my local coffee house, and I can see how that can smoothly translate into the online varient known as the blog.
In the 'visual arts' world, the most blogs would seem to be found among illustrators and graphic designers rather than fine artists like painters or sculptors. I've posted before on design blogs like Foreword and Design Observer and Typographica.
It makes sense seeing that illustrators and graphic designers these days must have some degree of computer and web knowledge to survive, whereas painters, sculptors and other 'gallery-type' artists do not.
On the whole, stained glass artists are still not a very computer or web savvy crowd. But that is changing. I don't get the "what's a blog?" question thrown back at me nearly as much as I did 3 years ago.
It also has to be said that stained glass artists don't generally do 'community' well. There are ongoing attempts to alleviate this, with email forums like the SG Network and various email groups on yahoo and google. There is also a new stained glass organization, the American Glass Guild, that is sincerely trying to be more open and inclusive in its membership policies, at least as compared to the still tightly wound, hierarchical and exclusively business-oriented Stained Glass Association of America. The SGAA now has an 'online forum' , but it's strictly members only. I'm not a member.
In all fairness, knitters don't have the nasty spectre of business matters and competition to think of as so few make a living from their craft. But graphic designers and illustrators definitely do make a living from their work. For illustrators and graphic designers, the blog is just an extension of their portfolio, and there is certainly a precedent for self-promotional and self-published 'journals' from graphic design companies. I'm thinking especially of the legendary Push Pin Graphic. I think stained glass studios could learn from that model. I certainly wish there could be an equivalent in the world of stained glass design. When will there be something like a good community blog for stained glass professionals, academics, patrons, amateurs and enthusiasts to all enjoy and learn from? Perhaps never, but I can always hope and imagine how nice it would be.
So, in brief, here is a list of the blogs that I know of that feature a good portion of posts related to stained glass. None have generated any real buzz in the blogging world or not very much buzz in the stained glass world.
I thought I'd put this first even though it's the new kid on the block, being around since just last year. By Justyn Zolli, a professional SG artist now out of San Francisco. This blog features many pictures from his own on-site visits. A very welcome new addition to the very small SG blogworld.
By a woman in England who has featured a great deal of stained glass in the past, not so much recently. She also posts photos to Flickr under the name of Tylluan, and those include a fair number of images of SG.
Light Made Solid
Peter Boucher's website journal - infrequent posts, but one of the few stained glass related blogs attempted by a professional studio.
Adventures in Dangerous Art
An amateur site, always a bit spotty in it's posting but back up and running after a lengthy hiatus. A nice light-hearted approach - this is the one that inspired me to start my own blog.
Okay, so it's safe to say that stained glass has not been the success story of the blogging revolution. So be it. I've enjoyed doing my SG blog and, as spotty as my posts have been, it's been a fascinating and informative ride for me. I intend to continue for as long as I can.
More on the photo sharing community phenomenon known as Flickr. I looked recently at the pool of images tagged with 'stained glass' - currently there are more than 2,600 images! Even if two thirds of those are of little or no interest (and many have no stained glass whatsoever), that leaves more than 800 images of stained glass that are of some interest. From looking for less than an hour it's clear that there is much to see for those interested in the design of stained glass windows.
from the curious -
to the conventional -
to the contemporary -
A geek milestone - I've been blogrolled. That is, I found my site as a link on another blogger's "blog list". The blog in question is called Stained Beauty, and it's only been going for a few months. The site is mostly about stained glass, by a student in the South of England. Check it out. I guess I'll have to start thinking about doing my own "blog roll".
This blog is one year old this week and it seems time for a brief overview. First of all, my orginal intention was to post at least once a week. Well, I've done a little better than once every 2 weeks. Not too bad, I guess, considering most blogs whither away after a few months.
I had to jettison the comments. Very few comments had been posted and I had little time to respond to those that were. More importantly, the comments section had started to receive spam and it's not worth policing that.
I have started to think of other blogs that might serve needs not covered by this blog. One would be a stained glass community blog. That is, one that would feature a group of authors and would encourage comments and discussion. I hope to see this developed one way or another over the next few months. Time will tell.
Another idea I have for a blog has to do with the large number of drawings that I have in reserve and how I would like to start showing those. I know that I could do that through this blog, but something tells me I need to structure it differently. Anyway, I have a prototype worked out that features one drawing a day. If this works out I will have a permanent link on the main website and on this blog.
I had meant to do a review of this whole blog experience after 6 months. And so I find it's 7.5 months now. Times flies indeed.
I looked at my first first month of entries to see what I was hoping for. I see that I had wanted to post a new entry once a week. It makes sense since the blogs I like best are the ones that are updated in a consistent manner, be it once a day or once a week. But consistancy is important. So I may do more entries that are quick 'just a link or two' entries so that I might get to the notion of having at least one entry in every week by friday.
As expected, I find the blog experience to be a little scary and daunting and strange and generally good for me. I like writing, though it can feel like torture sometimes to really work it out.
I have not had the time to do any type of 'follow a project' diary as yet and do not see the likelihood of doing it in the near future. I have little time to make my own work, let alone record it on the blog. That being said, I do want to include more images and 'record' the stained glass I come across in the odd pockets of my world. Much like the St. Louis glass this week.
Topics I hope to cover soon -
More 'Ripe for Translation' thoughts
Some pictures of my SG work with the 'stories behind the panel'
Links to websites of friends and colleagues in stained glass
The return of the fabulous "Exquisite Stained Glass Corpse" pages!
Also, starting the end of next week, a report of some kind from the SGAA Conference in Boston (June 24-29,2004).
Every so often, I look for other design/art/craft blogs. Just to see what is being done in the creativity-oriented "blogosphere". The most interesting blogs are the 'design' blogs. Perhaps because 'design' people are more computer and web savvy. More than 'artists' and certainly more than 'craftspeople'.
Here's a sample of a few design blogs I encountered one day last week -
The session started after I realized this - if there is any group that would lend itself to blogging, it must be the curiously obsessive world of typographers. Thus, after a Google search, I found Typographicom. Only on a site like this can you link to things like this, where the worlds of Shakespeare, typography and bed linen can harmonically converge.
It also linked to Foreword: a book design blog, a very nice blog linking to many other sites related to book design. The tone is a bit chatty for my taste, but I like the focus being just on book design. I especially like to read about and see examples of book cover design. I've never been able to pin down the 'why', but I have always been drawn to this as having some kind of a parallel to designing stained glass windows.
This site then led to Social Design Notes, with very good concise descriptions of design issues in the everyday world, with a social and political bent. Well thought out.
And then there is one site just for the fun of it...
I have yet to come across any other quirky idiosyncratic design blog related to stained glass. I shouldn't be too surprised. I'm still getting the "What's a blog?" response when telling colleagues about what I'm doing here.
about blogging, that is.
I sketch all the time. I do not write all the time. Drawing comes easy to me - it is and has always been a pleasure to me. Writing, in contrast, can be akin to torture for me. Yet, writing has become a necessity. There are things I must write about. If only for myself - for clarity within myself. One ambivalence I feel in writing a blog is the public nature of it. Even though the 'audience' will certainly be very limited, there is nevertheless a sense that this is public writing. This is not intended as a diary form blog. Hence the delay in doing regular submissions. I'm still trying to get the hang of this brave new world.
The advantage of public writing is that it does force me to keep on my toes. I do have a reader in mind. My solitary writing tends to spin out into stream of consciousness. It can be a fun and wild ride, but it is not conducive to thinking through an idea to a structured end. The nature of 'public' writing seems to help me, compel me, to think more carefully.
My sketches are also stream of consciousness. I rarely sketch from life. I tell people often that for every stained glass panel I finish I have at least 50 sketched out. I've never really counted, but I'm beginning to think that might be an underestimate. I recently took a stack of thumbnail sketches I did about 2 years ago and scanned them into the computer. I have yet to make a panel based on any of these sketches, and I know there are at least 1,200 sketches in the stack. Granted, they were small thumbnail sketches, many being no more than the size of a large postage stamp. Yet they are all sketches for stained glass windows and could be made into panels.
And what keeps me from making them into panels? Time factors in, of course. The myriad distractions of work for money, family, children, commitments. But I suspect there is also that pesky ambivalence that says, "You may have 1,200 sketches, but I only see maybe 6 good designs in there, if that."
That's when my public self chimes in -
6 designs is good. Do it.
okok I will. I promise.
Someday. Soon really.
As far as I know, this is the first stained glass related blog by a professional stained glass artist. For that matter, I've only seen one other blog specifically related to stained glass and that is by a hobbyist in the D.C. area - called Adventures in Dangerous Art. The blog is infrequently updated these days, but look through the archives. The writing is funny and to the point. It gives a good basic description of what it's like to be working in stained glass as a hobbyist, injuries and all. Reading it brings back quite a few memories from when I started as a hobbyist - (egad) - more than thirty years ago.
I like this diary form of blogging and hope to follow a project along 'diary style' in the future. time will tell...
My name is Tom Krepcio and I am a stained glass artist. This weblog is (mostly) about stained glass windows. That is to say, my perspective on this curious art/craft form. The present, the past and the future. The good, the bad, the beautiful and the just plain weird. okokok, especially the weird. More accurately, I plan to focus on topics that do not seem related to stained glass at all. And that is the point, since I feel that stained glass has limited itself in so many ways and so, well, it needs a bit of a stretch.
that is to say - Dare to be weird.
I have been working in stained glass for more than 30 years, having started as a pre-teen hobbyist in the early 70's. I have been working in the field professionally since 1980. The simplest way of grasping my personal history with stained glass is to look at my resume and the first part of my "Vitreobiography" and, of course, to look through my work on my web site. I am currently the Studio Manager at Salem Stained Glass in East Bend, North Carolina, and I still keep up with my personal work and my own commissions.
This is a self portrait (officially - "Portrait of the Artist in 1989 with Plaids and a Pencil") I did a long time ago. Some say it does not look like me, but then the drawing was from 1989... and it's more a "self caricature" than a self portrait.
My goal for this blog is to make at least one entry per week - more if the routine kicks in. Enjoy the ride.