Safety is not something to take lightly. Not only are the health and well-being of yourself and your employees at stake, but there is also the risk of hefty fines from OSHA — even if you think you are compliant but find out you are not.
This book is designed specifically to help the stained glass craftsman and studio owner understand what is required by law and regulation when using scaffolds, lifts, ladders, and ladder-jack scaffolds. It will help you understand what you should be doing to keep your workers safe and your studio out of trouble with the regulators.
Order your copy today!
Softbound, approx. 24 pages, black and white. Created by the Stained Glass Association of America’s Health & Safety Committee.
The SGAA Headquarters
9313 East 63rd Street
Raytown, MO 64133
Pricing: SGAA Members & Affiliates, $3; non-members, $5; shipping, $1.
Serious individuals who want to participate in stained glass on a professional level often ask the question, “Outside of a lengthy studio apprenticeship, where can I learn professional stained glass methods in America?” Unfortunately, currently, the answer is, “Nowhere.” That situation needs to change, and the Stained Glass School is the logical catalyst for that change.
I recently had the pleasure to speak with stained glass artist and educator, Ken Leap. Ken currently heads up the educational efforts for the Art Glass Guild, so we share some mutual concerns in the educational realm. He asked me what my vision for the Stained Glass School is. I presented my thoughts and would like to share a more concise version of those with readers of this magazine — indeed — with all members of the stained glass community.
The SGS educational efforts I envision can be divided into three separate categories — artistic excellence, technical proficiency, and continuing education.
The SGS, through its network of existing stained glass artists and acknowledged leaders in the field, can and should, provide learning opportunities for art students across America. We cannot hope to get a stained glass curriculum into every recognized art college in the United States; however, the SGS can provide a stained glass curriculum and instructional opportunities at a central location at its property on the outskirts of Kansas City.
Much like a “semester abroad,” a semester-long, highly concentrated, residential program might be accredited, through a national association of colleges of art. A rigorous, artistically oriented stained glass program will recruit talented, young artists from across this country to embrace fresh approaches to new markets — markets outside the usual ecclesiastical setting. Fledgling studios with newfound ideas will inevitably develop, breathing new life into this medium. The infusion of informed artistic talent, armed with uncommon design ideas, may define an artistic direction of American stained glass for decades to come. That is a deliciously enticing prospect.
Stained glass education of the type required to produce bona fide artisans is an arduous and extensive process, generally involving lengthy apprenticeship programs. At no point in the history of stained glass education has a simple, abbreviated time frame been discovered to produce competent, professional craftspeople.
There is no easy way — no magic bullet — to learning the ponderous, sometimes mystic, complexities of the stained glass art and craft. No weekend seminars, no intensive semester immersion programs can replace a dedicated academic and “practicum” experience — mentored by masters — over the course of several years.
The most expeditious course may be to amalgamate the stained glass curriculum with an existing vocational training facility. In addition to classroom training, young learners, during the course of their studies, will participate in project-based learning and internships, and will, eventually, be offered certification through their participation in SGS studio activities and testing. At the conclusion of their studies, students will be proficient in engineering, construction methods, installation techniques, and restoration procedures involved in the trade. This program, which may also involve adults and veterans who are re-training in new fields, is anticipated to take two to four years to complete, depending on the level of certification desired.
For those individuals currently involved in the art and craft of stained glass, there is a constant need to upgrade and learn new skills. Short, intense “master classes” and symposia are envisioned to fulfill this need. Classes ranging in length from three days to three weeks in duration and focusing on one specific area of knowledge are proposed. These classes will be taught by recognized masters in a specific aspect of the art and craft, and will be offered at the Stained Glass School facilities. Certificates of completion will be granted to those who successfully complete the classes.
It is anticipated that these classes, due to their relative ease of production, will be the first to be offered by the Stained Glass School.
Establishing programs of the scope and magnitude outlined above is a monumental undertaking — one that cannot be accomplished by any single individual. There is a great deal that must be done, including decisions regarding direction, funding, curriculum, outside participation, faculty, and a myriad of other concerns, all of which must be addressed before the first class comes to fruition.
There are many tasks to be accomplished before any of these programs can actually be put in place — tasks for which volunteers are desperately needed. Whether you are a fourth-generation owner of a major American stained glass studio, an independent artist, or a newly minted small studio, the Stained Glass School needs your input, expertise, and energy. Please consider helping preserve and enlarge the community of stained glass artists and artisans for generations to come. You will feel better for it, and the craft will benefit immensely from your participation. Volunteer to help today by calling toll-free 1-800-438-9581.
In approximately six months, the Stained Glass Association of America will be holding our Annual Summer Conference. The Conference Committee has been diligently working to present a fine array of lectures and workshops that will be informative and fun.
What else has the SGAA been up to in the last six months? The Health and Safety Committee, under the leadership of Al Priest, has finished the Safety Pamphlet, SGAA Recommendations for the Safe Use of Aerial Lifts, Scaffolding, Ladders and Ladder-Jack Scaffolds. The committee has worked tirelessly for the past two years to provide studios and their employees with the safety recommendations of which studios need to be aware when working above ground level. These pamphlets are now available and I urge everyone to get a copy to insure that you and your employees, as well as the general public, have a safe environment to be around.
The long awaited revisions to the Restoration Guidelines pamphlet will be available for distribution this spring. As with the previous pamphlet, this important publication is a most useful tool at the bench. Many studios also use this booklet to educate and inform clients of proper techniques and procedures while restoring art glass.
Many thanks need to go to the former chair of the Restoration Committee, Jules Mominee, and his committee for laying the ground work for the revisions of this document. Under the capable hands of David Guarducci, who took over the Committee earlier this year, the Committee has finalized the pamphlet. I think most will be impressed with this publication. Restoration of art glass seems to be a controversial topic to discuss. Again, the SGAA leads the way in setting the standard for all of us to achieve.
Rick Hoover has established a formal office at the Stained Glass School property. This is an important development at the future site of a permanent complex dedicated to art glass education. Rick’s stewardship of the Stained Glass School has infused much energy into this important function of the SGAA. Many important decisions concerning the School will be decided at the Winter Business Meeting. The Winter Business Meeting is open to all.
Should you not be able to attend the Winter Business Meeting, you should plan now to attend the Annual Summer Conference. There is no better place to discuss recommendations and standards so important to our trade than at the SGAA Summer Conference. For most, the results of a good conference enable one to return to their shops with sound information and creative juices restored. This helps a studio maintain high standards of efficiency and quality. The atmosphere of a conference is not all lectures and no fun. Sights and sounds abound mingled with food and drink amongst colleagues enjoying great conversation. It’s a chance to make friends with professionals working in the field that can be of great benefit to you throughout the year.
There have been many great lectures and presentations over they years; some of those most memorable to me include a demonstration of painting techniques by the late Dick Millard in Pittsburgh in 1995; Charlie Lawrence describing his creative process in Louisville in 2006; and Viggo Rambusch this past year in the middle of a Tiffany-adorned chapel discussing the illumination of architectural settings through the ages. I have found it to be true for me again and again, and I know you will, too. At the Annual Summer Conference, you will receive sound and important information to further your work. You can count on that.
So join us in Kansas City this summer to share the experiences of an SGAA Summer Conference.
Founded in 1903, The Stained Glass Association of America (SGAA) is a nonprofit trade association dedicated to the advancement of the stained and leaded glass field.
The objectives of the Association are: to function as the recognized organization of distinction and to conduct its affairs in a manner that will reflect credit upon its image and craft; to maintain the highest possible standards for excellence in craftsmanship, integrity, and business practices; to provide facilities offering active membership participation, extensive craft training, organizational and craft-related information, trade-related consulting, and documentary services; to research and develop new products, processes, and techniques for the advancement of innovative craft expression; to act as the authoritative historian and archivist for its craft in America; to defend and protect its craft against unwarranted regulation restricting its freedom of use as an architectural art form.
If these objectives make sense to you and you want to be a part of the future of stained, decorative, and architectural art glass, then you should be a member of the SGAA.
Stained Glass Association of America
Find out more at www.stainedglass.org
or call the SGAA Headquarters at 800.438-9581
I am not a superstitious person. Or maybe, to be more exact, I should say that, historically speaking, I am not a superstitious person. The last issue was enough to make me wonder if maybe forces not of this world were out to get me. The day after I wrote my last editorial, in which I mentioned the difficulty in putting together the last issue and how relieved I was to finally have that one done, I went, quite unexpectedly, into the hospital. (I got better… but the timing couldn’t have been worse!)
So, let me say loudly and clearly that this issue went fine. No problems at all. Nothing unusual happened. Nothing to see here. Move along.
In all seriousness, now that this magazine is in the final days of preparation before it goes into print, I’m very pleased with this one. There are a number of very interesting articles, and each reader will, of course, have their own personal favorite.
My favorite is “Googling Stained Glass, Part 1: How ‘Google Book Search’ and ‘Google Scholar’ Can Help Stained Glass Studios, Artists, and Conservationists,” by Bill Serban, which begins on page 272. If you weren’t previously fully aware of some of the powerful tools that Google provides to assist in research, including access to entire books that are out of copyright in downloadable formats, then this article might be one of your favorites, too.
There is also some excellent photography in this issue. The photographs of the Tiffany lamps in the article “Tiffany Lamp Display Delights Biltmore Estate,” by Gregory Clarke, which begins on page 282, are wonderful. It’s nice to have good photographs, even though the limits of color printing necessarily means that the art glass as it appears in print will never be better than a representation of the art glass when seen in person.
There really is no substitute for seeing stained, decorative, and architectural art glass windows in person… and attending a Stained Glass Association of America Annual Summer Conference is an excellent opportunity to do exactly that. Next year, we will be meeting again in Kansas City. I want to invite everyone to come visit us at the Conference next summer and find out firsthand all about the progress we’re making on the school (see page 253 for an essay by SGAA Stained Glass School Director Rick Hoover about his vision for the future of the school).
Coming to Kansas City 2012 will also let you experience what Kansas City has to offer; it’s going to be a great Conference, full of very informative presentations and educational seminars on the Ancient Craft, which we all hold so dear.
Plus, we’re trying something entirely new at this Conference. The official Conference hotel offers all of the ballrooms, meeting space, and amenities that are present at all of our conferences. It also features a 55,000 square foot water park, making this the most family-friendly Annual Summer Conference in many years. So, please, make plans to attend and bring the family. It will be fun for everyone. (And because I know I am not the only one who has this particular addiction, let me point out also that the conference facility has an arcade, and the arcade has skee-ball. You’re welcome.)
In the summer of 2013, we’ll be meeting in Indianapolis. That, too, promises to be an excellent Conference. Our friends at Kokomo Opalescent Glass will be celebrating their 125th anniversary in conjunction with our Annual Summer Conference. The day of the stained glass tour, we will visit installations in Indianapolis before going to Kokomo to see a very impressive and historic installation there done entirely with Kokomo glass. After the tour, we will visit the Kokomo production facility for tours and a chance to pick out glass firsthand.
The coming Conferences will be great opportunities to learn, explore, and have fun doing it. Look for more information in this and coming issues, and — as always — if you have any questions about the Stained Glass Association of America and its programs, you are welcome to contact the Headquarters directly at 800.438-9581.
Were you there? What a great Conference! The round table discussions; the presentations; the Willard Chapel with all of its Tiffany grandeur; the spectacular Rambusch installation; the Tiffany, LaFarge, Keck, and other windows were fantastic.
We learned about Henry Keck’s Studio and his many commissions, watched Jerome Durr’s stone-setting presentation, Steve Sussman’s framing information and Don Samick’s details on estimating techniques for job costs. An update about lead issues was provided by Al Priest, as well as an update on the Restoration Standards and Guidelines by David Guarducci.
We all enjoyed a special evening presentation by Albin Elskus, the son of Albinas Elskus, about the life and art of his father. Hearing the new owner of Lambert’s from Germany speak about our future; learning more about silver stain from Cliff Oster; seeing Sarah Hall’s phenomenal work in solar art glass; hearing Dr. Pye’s scientific presentation about glass; seeing our friends again from Costa Rica, Japan, Canada, and all over the United States; meeting and getting to know new friends; learning more about old and new glass techniques — it was great!
The Stained Glass Association of America awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award to a very surprised Viggo Rambusch. Jerome Durr made the presentation, and Viggo was joined by his wife, son (Martin), and daughter (Kristen). The SGAA was also pleased to award 100-year membership pins to Hunt Studios and Franklin Art Glass. And if you were not at the Awards banquet, you missed the most incredible “Mysteries of the Mind” magic show I have ever witnessed —performed by Steve Sussman!
And Syracuse, New York! What a beautiful area and traditional slice of the American pie! The beautiful landscape and flowers were everywhere; the Finger Lakes, especially Lake Seneca, were beautiful. We enjoyed touring the Corning Glass Museum; visiting the vineyards; and the bus tour through Watkins Glen, Auburn, and around Lake Skaneateles (also a beautiful Finger Lake) made for a tremendous after-Conference tour.
This is my last and best opportunity to write a President’s message. Usually, this message is written before the Summer Conference; however, because this Conference was scheduled earlier than usual, I am getting to write this after the Conference and, technically, as your Past President. So, this message is being written from two perspectives: Where our organization has been the past two years; and, secondly, where our future direction will focus.
The Stained Glass Association of America has survived and moved forward during the most difficult of economic times since the 1930s. Our members have made necessary changes in their studios and their business plans in order to remain viable and responsive to the needs of our craft — sometimes to the detriment of their own lives and those of their employees. Those of you who are hobbists or craftspeople need to observe and take heed to know that just having a passion for the art of stained glass does not guarantee success. I would highly recommend participating in the SGAA and its Business Forum opportunity (call the headquarters for details).
The good news is that the Stained Glass Association of America is the organization that continues to be the leader in providing support, benefits, and leadership now and in the future. Our determination to provide a national stained glass center for teaching, archives, and headquarters for the SGAA is stronger and more focused than ever. The Stained Glass School, under the auspices of the Stained Glass Association of America, is currently in the process of finalizing the steps to achieve this goal. Our leadership is highly considerate of our obligations and our responsibility to our members and the craft we support, to provide the best choices in this endeavor.
Who is our leadership? It is those of you who choose to get involved, who give of your time—and give back to the craft which provides you with the fulfillment you receive from your work.
The leaders of this organization are united in building the Stained Glass Association of America and the Stained Glass School into a world-class provider for assistance and education. We exist to teach and promote our craft, using standards and guidelines to give credibility to who we are and what we do. We certify our members so that our clientele understands why we are the best and only choice to do their work.
I am highly confident that our new President, Jerome Durr, will provide focus and goals consistent with the Board of the SGAA and the Trustees of the SGS. Jerome has been the director of the Stained Glass School for several years and brings a wealth of experience and passion to the job. I commend the members’ choice to have him as President and look forward to being a part of his Board.
Thank you for our opportunities!
This is a very unusual summer issue of The Stained Glass Quarterly, not because of its content but because of its timing. This issue is releasing late because the Stained Glass Association of America Annual Summer Conference was held very early.
You see, normally, the Conference falls sometime between June 15 and July 15 each year, with it usually coming late in June. For that reason, the fall issue is the one that covers the SGAA’s Annual Summer Conference. This year, though, to secure the best hotel room pricing available, the Conference was held three weeks early.
Since the Conference has, as of this writing, already happened, the election of new officers and directors has also already happened. This means that, as this issue goes to press, the new President of the Stained Glass Association of America is Jerome Durr. Nevertheless, now past-President Jack Whitworth wrote the President’s Message (see page 84) for this issue since it is something that would normally have been written before the Conference. Each President, among his (many) other duties, is also responsible for writing eight President’s Messages.
For a complete list of current officers and directors, as well as the most up-to-date list of committee chairpersons, please see page 160. This list has been updated to reflect the recent elections held at the Syracuse Conference.
Because the publication date for this issue happened at the same time as the Conference this year, much of the work for this issue was done before the Conference happened. Therefore, the fall issue will still be the issue in which the Conference will receive in-depth coverage.
However, if you would like to know what you missed at the Conference and just can’t wait for the fall issue to find out, the official Conference program is available for download as a PDF file at www.stainedglass.org, and you can see some photos from the Conference — including some that were taken and posted along with commentary as the Conference was underway — at the SGAA’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SGAA1.
Also, there will be a website update at www.stainedglass.org in early July that will include Conference photo albums and information on the events.
Writing for The Stained Glass Quarterly
One of my duties as Editor & Media Director is to address the general membership at the Conference each year on the state of the Association’s publications and websites. This year, as a part of my address, I invited everyone in attendance to consider writing an article for the magazine in the coming year, and I would like to make that same invitation to all readers. I would especially like to see articles about historical artists, studios, and installations but will, of course, consider illustrated feature articles on any topic relating to stained, decorative, and architectural art glass.
During one discussion group at the Syracuse Conference, one of the attendees asked me why I don’t republish articles from (long) past issues of the magazine. After all, the magazine has been in continuous publication since 1906, and there have been many landmark articles over the years that are still very relevant today.
There isn’t any specific reason why I don’t republish older articles in the magazine other than the fact that there is always a full magazine’s worth of new articles to publish. However, I’m very open to the idea of once in a while publishing select articles from the past.
I would like to hear your opinion on it. Are you interested in seeing the occasional article from a long-past issue of the magazine? Write to me and let me know what you think. You can reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks — and I look forward to reading your opinions on this.
From the Editor’s Desk, Winter 2010
by Richard H. Gross, MTS
In my first year of college, I was studying computer science. I wanted to be a writer, but I figured I would never actually be able to make a living doing that. Then, in my English 102 class, the professor, to whom I had never mentioned my desire to be a writer, wrote a comment on one of my papers: “You have a very definite talent for writing. You should pursue this.” That comment, which she could have just as easily left unmade, changed my life. Ultimately, I changed my major to English, studied journalism, and, about seven years after that comment was made, I became the editor of The Stained Glass Quarterly. That would never have happened if I had not been encouraged to pursue something that I desperately wanted to do but did not have enough faith in myself or my ability to actually pursue it.
There are key points in my life where a teacher said something or pointed me in a new direction, and I would not be who I am today if not for those moments. I have had many teachers over the years, some good and some bad. However, beyond that huge group there is a smaller group of teachers — not all of whom held the title but all of whom filled the function — who were truly excellent and who helped make me who I am today.
Over the years, I have even found myself fulfilling the role of teacher. The hardest thing about teaching on Wednesday nights is waking up and going to work on Thursday morning. I get home at around 10:00 pm on Wednesdays and am absolutely wired for the next hour and a half. Five-thirty comes mighty early in the morning on Thursday. And now, as I sit here on Thursday morning looking at a blank page and wondering what in the world I should write about, the answer seems suddenly very clear: Teaching.
I cannot claim vast experience as a teacher, and, certainly there are many people who know far more about it than I do. But, as I’ve watched the SGAA Stained Glass School develop, I’ve had the opportunity to think a lot about the role of the teacher. Besides, what I want to write about is not advice on how to teach but rather some brief thoughts on why teaching is so important and how it can benefit the teacher as well as the student. There is also a very definite way in which it benefits the entire craft of stained glass when people teach others craft skills.
When I’m not being the editor of The Stained Glass Quarterly, one of the other things I do is act as RCIA Director for my parish. This means that I organize and, with quite a bit of help, teach classes for those who are coming into full communion with the Catholic Church. It is a nine-month program of education that seeks to offer adults the information they need to make an informed decision about the future of their spiritual life. It’s a lot of work, and it is very rewarding work.
I have also had the pleasure of teaching seminars at SGAA Annual Summer Conferences. The effect on me as a teacher is very much the same whether I am teaching about, say, the Four Marks of the Church on Wednesday or teaching stained glass artists how to be better photographers of their own work at a pre-Conference seminar. The feeling that I get from knowing that I can share the knowledge and skill that I have to help others grow in their own knowledge and ability is beyond words. It is one of the finest feelings that I know.
It is very satisfying to watch others grow and to know that you’ve played some role in that. It is also very personally satisfying to teach, in a way similar to the runner’s high; that’s why I come home on Wednesday nights unable to get to sleep until after midnight. I don’t know how many times I have remarked to my wife that I wonder if that feeling will ever end. I hope it won’t.
It is very satisfying to know that I can volunteer my time as a teacher to organizations like my parish and the Stained Glass Association of America and, in whatever way I can, help advance the very worthwhile causes toward which those organizations are working. Whether you look at a church community, an organization like the SGAA, or at any other worthwhile cause, there is a lot of work that needs to be done, and some of it is best done by volunteers.
Teachers also offer their students something very valuable. They are witnesses to the fact that it can be done… that the skills can be mastered, the techniques can be learned, and the information can become a very real part of the student who seeks to learn it.
Teachers make the individual a better person, and, by helping people become all they can be, they make the world a better place. Where would any of us be if not for the teachers who made us all who we are today?