Notes on my Glasswork
Notes on my Glasswork:
Restoring the gothic rose window at Boston University’s Marsh Chapel, as an apprentice craftsman, 1998
“My work in glass grew mainly out of my interest in light. Glass is a material that becomes, in effect, ‘frozen light’ when light passes through it.
Light is the first and foremost energy of the universe, and glass is a beautiful medium with which to explore light.
Glass is seductive for this reason, a seemingly solid liquid that when shaped can hold light itself. Malleable but fragile. It is truly an ‘alchemical’ substance, born in fire, made of sand and minerals, glowing golden when hot, translucent when cool, resilient yet delicate. Architectural glass art in particular is also an art that is intimately tied to nature’s cycles, as it relies on the movement and strength of the sun as a source of its life.
I was first introduced to it as a cold medium in my first year at art school, and a hot medium in my second year.
The stained glass craft itself provided a rare opportunity in which to explore Old World craftsmanship, art’s relationship to architecture, and the physical principles of light itself acting within a space.
Perhaps greatest however was the the desire to get elements of glowing translucent light into my painted works. No matter how much a painter works, he cannot imbue a painting with as much reflected light as a stained glass window transmits with its refracted light. Through the art of glass-painting and enameling, I was able to explore another way a painting could be made, and investigate an alternative light theory for my art pieces.”
“My work as a glass painter and conservator of historic art-glass provided me with gainful employment for years at a time, and allowed me the support to continue my development in other art forms, namely painting and drawing. When in my mid 20’s I traveled extensively through western Europe, a major portion of my tour was devoted to the study of the majority of ancient cathedrals and architecture that utilized glass in an innovative way.
In my career as a conservator of historic stained glass, I have worked on windows dating between the medieval (16th cent.) to the early 20th century. Some artists and studios whose works I’ve restored include Tiffany Studios, Clara Miller Byrd, Lamb Studios, Henry Holiday, Charles Connick, W.H. Burnham, Tyroli, Meyer of Munich, Otto Hieneke, H. Weeder, the Royal Bavarian School of Art, and the The California Art Glass Company.
By the time I decided to seek my own glass commissions rather than work as a journeyman for other studios, I had learned enough about the various modern and ancient processes to design works with keen attention to the reality of their crafting and glass selection.”
“My contemporary glass designs are in line with my formal concerns in painting and drawing, and reflect my interest in geometry, color, organic forms, and design principles found in nature.”