Developing Your Opportunities

by Jack Whitworth

As I correspond with large and small stained glass studios, hobbyists, and multi-generational artists, I find most are concerned about either not having any work, not having enough work, or having to reduce their scope of operations. For decades, the stained glass industry has been perceived as a “dying” art, with a painful lack of knowledge by the general public about who we are and what we do. I have never heard complaints about having too much work or too much of a backlog.

What a fantastic opportunity! Those who persist and are creative in their efforts to survive will have an even bigger slice of the pie, so to speak! How do we move in that direction?

First, we need a plan to create a market for ourselves. All of the talent in the world will not make you successful if no one knows you exist. Finding inexpensive ways to tell the world and investing in techniques that will give you a good ROI (return on investment) are critical to long-term success. Although highly recommended, I am not addressing the multitude of virtually cost-free social networks that can be accessed to publicize your business. What follows are techniques that I have used over the years that have helped me when I needed more stained glass work.

First, let people know who you are and what you do. Join service clubs, be active in your church and volunteer some time with your Chamber of Commerce or other civic endeavors. Donate some smaller stained glass items to fundraisers that are highly publicized and get your name out there with free advertising. Celebrate a studio anniversary or other occasion and get your local paper to do an article on you and your accomplishments.

Secondly, get credibility. Join the SGAA, participate, meet other members and learn from them. You will reap whatever benefits you sow. You will learn, your clients will be impressed, and your reputation and your business will be advanced according to your efforts.

Thirdly, think outside the box. Have you ever had a fundraiser for the youth in your church during the fourth quarter to deliver stained glass Nativity scenes, crosses, or puzzles? Have you had a booth at a Home and Garden show that attracts 25,000 upscale buyers who will see your work? And they ask, “Do you do church windows, too?”

Does your community have an annual trade convention that showcases local businesses? Almost all church denominations have annual conferences that allow booths for display and information about your work. I have done or am doing all of these above-suggested opportunities, and I know they all provide the ability to develop your opportunities!

Lastly,  focus on the use of your time and talent. It is very easy to spend 80% of your time talking and working with those who only provide 20% of your income. We all spend too much time talking about our passion for stained and architectural glass to anyone who will listen. While sometimes necessary, reminding yourself of your priorities must be continually a part of your plan if you want to achieve your goals.

In this time of opportunity, it is good to know that there are many ways to be successful in stained glass. Managing our time, overhead, materials, and people is critical. I encourage you to spend some time being proactive in this business that we have chosen to pursue. The formula for each of us is different; however, it is agreed that what we do is truly a combination of business and pleasure.

An Exciting Time

by Richard Gross

The SGAA’s Annual Summer Conference is always exciting, but this year, with SGAA President Jack Whitworth’s announcement that the Stained Glass Association of America, together with the SGAA Stained Glass School, has purchased two-and-a-half acres of land on which to build a permanent headquarters, teaching facility, and research center, the excitement felt by all of the members in attendance was palpable, indeed.

While there are still many decisions to be made and plans to be created, purchasing land is a major step toward the ultimate goal of creating a world-class teaching and administrative facility for the Association. For many years, the Association has been headquartered in makeshift facilities that, while they have served the day-to-day functions of the SGAA, have not allowed so many of the extra things that a trade organization like the Stained Glass Association of America can and should be doing.

Teaching, of course, is at the forefront of that. It is up to the professionals that make up the professional trade organization for our craft to train the next generation of professionals in techniques appropriate to work in a production studio. While it is possible for someone earnestly seeking deeper craft proficiency to learn some of these techniques on their own over a period of years, these are skills that are best learned at the bench, using the tools of the craft in the manner in which professionals use them under the instruction of a highly skilled teacher.

The SGAA Stained Glass School has a history of offering valuable one- and two-day classes at the Annual Summer Conference. Those certainly are beneficial, and they will, I hope, continue even after the new SGAA Stained Glass School is built. However, a six-hour painting workshop set up in a hotel meeting room certainly does not give the same exposure or benefit that a six-day painting workshop in a facility designed specifically for painting on glass would provide. It’s not even fair to compare the two, they are so radically different.

The SGAA Stained Glass School is to be applauded for its hard work in bringing classes to the Annual Summer Conference, and it has been an honor and a privilege to have taught a class at a conference. But as important and as valuable as these classes are, they pale in comparison to the value received from a multi-day or even multi-week format. In addition to having a focused environment for intensive learning, one can make friends and contacts at these workshops that will last a lifetime. In this respect, it’s not unlike the network of friendships that is formed by those who attend the SGAA Annual Summer Conference.

What are the steps to building a world-class teaching facility? That’s a question that the board of directors of the SGAA Stained Glass School is working to address right now. Certainly, there are many decisions to be made, and none of them should be made hastily, since the foundation now being laid is one that should endure for many, many years to come. There is no reason why the school built now could not endure for generations into the future, enduring long after all of us here now are gone.

The goal is clear; the path to reach that goal is one that will take thoughtful deliberation. Jerome Durr, of Syracuse, New York, served with distinction as Director of the SGAA Stained Glass School in recent years and with the assistance of the School’s board of directors brought it to where it is now and helped oversee the purchase of land. Jerome has now been elected First Vice President of the Stained Glass Association of America and has handed on the Directorship of the SGAA Stained Glass School to the capable hands of Bob Markert of Louisville, Kentucky.

Bob brings many years of experience in teaching art and craft to the table. In addition to being a Fully Accredited Artist/Designer Member of the Stained Glass Association of America, Bob has served for several years as the Apprenticeship Committee chairman and has worked extensively on the Association’s apprenticeship efforts, bringing them up to date and forming training schedules that, when implemented, will allow the craftsman to achieve certification at the Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master levels.

It is a truly exciting time for the SGAA Stained Glass School. While major and historic steps have already been taken, there is much more to do. The SGAA Stained Glass School is moving boldly into the future; it is a wonderful time to be a part of the Stained Glass Association of America.

Glashütte Lamberts Announces New Management

Glashütte Lamberts of Germany, recognized as the world leader in the production of mouth-blown sheet glasses, is now under the new leadership of Mr. Hans Reiner Meindl. After 28 years at the head of the family business, Stephan Lamberts will remain as consultant.

Mr. Meindl has extensive experience in the glass industry. He now concludes a 10-year career at Heinz Holding GmbH., a leading international manufacturer of perfume bottles, leaving his current position as managing director. Mr. Meindl is expected to bring the business forward through his experience, the expertise of Glashütte Lamberts’ staff, and the factory’s long-standing relationships with global business partners. Lamberts’ partnership with Bendheim, the exclusive distributor of Lamberts glass in North America, has endured for three generations.

“We are confident Mr. Meindl will build on Lamberts’ foundation of traditional glassblowing methods and technological knowledge to increase their capabilities and range of products,” said Robert Jayson, President of Bendheim. “We look forward to the continued growth of our 70-year partnership with Lamberts.”

The art of creating mouth-blown flat glass has become a rare craft. Glashütte Lamberts is known to artists, designers, and architects throughout the world for the quality and variety of its mouth-blown glasses, unsurpassed in their brilliance and body. Artists have designed with Lamberts glass for a variety of residential, commercial, and institutional projects. A rich palette of more than 500 colors is availble from Bendheim’s extensive stock, with more than 5,000 colors and textures accessible through the Lamberts factory in Germany.

To request information and samples of Lamberts original mouth-blown art glass, visit or call 800-221-7379 (East), 800-900-3499 (West).

Evenheat Adds Alarm to Rampmaster

 Evenheat announces a new and valuable alarm enhancement to the Rampmaster control. The alarm update consists of “Beginning of Process Hold” and “End of Process Hold” alarms. The process hold is the point during a glass firing where the glass moves and takes on new form, such as slumping or fusing.  

The Beginning of Process Hold Alarm alerts you when your glass is about to start taking on new form. Knowing when this occurs is very helpful as it puts you in a timely position to react to the glass changes and make decisions and adjustments as necessary.

The End of Process Hold Alarm alerts you when your glass has completed the shape-changing process and is headed to the anneal portion of the firing. This allows you to be present to stop further movement of the glass and to force cool down to the anneal if desired.

With these new Rampmaster alarm features, the artist has every opportunity to extend or shorten the firing process or to be present to stop further changes and quickly cool the kiln down to the anneal temperature.

To learn more about Evenheat’s Rampmaster control and these new alarm updates, visit

Lighting Now Available

"Lighting" is reprinted from the SGAA Stained Glass School's Reference & Technical Manual, Second Edition.

The Stained Glass Association of America is pleased to announce the availability of “Chapter 21: Lighting” from the SGAA Reference & Technical Manual, Second Edition. This is the latest chapter made available in reprint edition of the popular Manual, which has been out of print for many years.

This chapter includes essays on color and light in interior spaces, the artificial lighting of stained glass windows through the use of light boxes, and includes extensive information on the design and fabrication of stained glass lamps. The book concludes by touching briefly on the use of neon.

This is the eighth title available in this series. Other available chapters are “Glazing & Copperfoil,” “Cartooning & Cutting Glass,” “Installation & Safety Glazing,” “Design & Color,” “Dalle de Verre,” “Painting for Stained Glass,” and “Structure and Reinforcement.”

“Chapter 21: Lighting” and all reprint chapters from the SGAA Reference & Technical Manual, Second Edition, are available from the SGAA Headquarters by calling 800.438-9581 or are available for order online. For more information, see

FYI: People from Winter 2009

Gathering Light
Hel Goleuni.Gathering Light



Hel Goleuni.Gathering Light

In October 2009, Ellen Mandelbaum participated in the exhibition “Hel Goleuni.Gathering Light” at the National Waterfront Museum, in Swansea, Wales. She also was invited to demonstrate glass painting at The Welsh School of Architectural Glass.

Gathering Light
Hel Goleuni.Gathering Light


Mandelbaum is an Active Accredited member of the SGAA and is the principal at Ellen Mandelbaum Glass Art ( The Welsh School of Architectural Glass, Swansea Metropolitan University, ( is the only dedicated architectural glass school in the world.

Chris Bird-Jones, Director of the Glass Masters program at the school, designed, curated, and exhibited in the exhibition.

“Hel Goleuni.Gathering Light” featured large innovative works by artists of the Women’s International Glass Workshop. Linda Lichtman and Marie Foucault-Phipps were the other American artists who attended the gathering in Wales.



MENFOLK: an Exhibition of Stained Glass by Debora Coombs

“I am trying to explore the world that lies behind the threshold of language. My series of stained glass panels titled Menfolk attempts to unravel the emotional complexity of ‘maleness’ from youth to old age.”

Debora Coombs exhibited Menfolk, a series of richly painted stained glass panels at the Cochrane Theatre Gallery, London, from October 8 to November 29, 2009; from there, the exhibit travels to the Stained Glass Museum at Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire, England, from January 2 to February 14, 2010.

The genesis for this body of work was an invitation by Laura Thompson, curator for Kidspace at MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art), in North Adams, Massachusetts, for Coombs to exhibit in a three-person show Boxed Sets: Assembling Objects, Images, and People. Five panels were on exhibition there from April to September 2007.

Bird in Hand
Bird in Hand


Another stained glass panel, Man With Bird, was among 100 works of glass art selected from 2,974 submitted from 43 countries worldwide to be published in the 2009 New Glass Review 31 as part of an annual event organized by Neues Glas/New Glass magazine in Germany and the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York. These works become part of the permanent public archives of international contemporary glass artists in the Rakow Library at Corning Museum.

Born and raised in Southampton, England, Debora studied at Edinburgh College of Art; in Swansea, Wales; and received her Master’s from the Royal College of Art in London in 1985. She went on to complete a series of successful public art projects and religious stained glass, including a memorial window commissioned by Sir Nigel Broackes, former Chairman of the Crafts Council of Great Britain.In 1995, Coombs was commissioned by Archbishop (now Cardinal) William J. Levada to create windows for the newly renovated St. Mary’s Cathedral in Portland, Oregon. This three-year project involved designing and making 20 stained glass windows — more than 1,000 square feet of hand-painted stained glass — on the themes of American saints, cultural diversity, and the sacraments. During this time Coombs and her husband, Richard Criddle, made the decision to emigrate to the US in 1996. They now live in Readsboro, Vermont.

Coombs’ stained glass has been exhibited in Europe, Australia, Asia, and the USA and is held in the permanent collection of the Stained Glass Museum at Ely Cathedral in England.Her work as an educator includes directing the glass department at Chelsea College of Art in London from 1994 to 1996, adjunct teaching at art schools on both sides of the Atlantic, including the Pilchuck Glass School, Seattle, Washington; and presentations to professional associations such as the British Society of Master Glass Painters; the Stained Glass Association of America; and British Columbia Glass Art Society in Canada.

Elected by peers as a lifelong Fellow of the British Society of Master Glass Painters in 1994, Coombs is one of just 13 artists with this status. Her commissions include two 25-foot figurative windows for Norman Vincent Peale’s church, Marble Collegiate, on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, New York; the design of 46 windows for St. Henry Catholic Church in Nashville, Tennessee; and the donor recognition window in North Adams Public Library.

About her forthcoming exhibition Menfolk, Coombs writes: “This series of work explores maleness, at various ages, and in different emotional landscapes. It grew from a desire to explore images of people that spoke to me in some way. Combining drawings and photographs of my own family with those of strangers, I discovered some interesting relationships. I handpainted people and patterns onto pieces of coloured glass to form a mosaic. Fixed together with strips of soldered lead in the traditional manner, these Menfolk are now preserved in stained glass, together forever.“Part of the allure for me is working with the real substance of glass and paint. The process feeds my need to make things. Sensual and tactile, craftsmanship is absorbing, technically challenging, and pleasurable. Making provides a perfect counterpoint to thinking.”

FYI: Stained Glass Gallery

There are still two open “FYI: Stained Glass Gallery” pages in the next issue of The Stained Glass Quarterly! You can find out more about having your work considered for publication by following this link. Remember, to be in “FYI: Stained Glass Gallery,” the work must be architectural and the photographs must be publication quality. Selections for these last two pages will be made this week, so email photographs to today. Include the name of your studio, location, title and location of the window, and a few sentences about the installation and/or your studio.

Winter 2009 Online

The Winter 2009 issue of The Stained Glass Quarterly is now in print! Additionally, has been updated with new sample articles, including Part One of a series demystifying resolution in digital imaging and the latest edition of FYI: Stained Glass Gallery

You can always find the latest information about the Stained Glass Association of America, the SGAA Stained Glass School and The Stained Glass Quarterly online at,, and