The Stained Glass School, Inc., is actively seeking qualified professionals interested in teaching workshops and classes at the new location in Raytown, Missouri. Interested instructors should send description, outline of class, and materials list. Also include your curriculum vitae, a portfolio of work relevant to the class, and compensation requirements (i.e., teacher’s fee and expenses). Future class dates and schedules are being set for Winter, Spring and the 2015 Pre-Conference Classes in Portland, Oregon. Please consider donating your teaching fee for your first class to help get the school started! Please send all information via email to or to SGAA Headquarters, 9313 E. 63rd Street, Raytown, MO 64133.

Stained Glass 101

The SGAA Stained Glass School has long been known for offering workshops and seminars in conjunction with the Stained Glass Association of America’s Annual Summer Conference. However, in April of this year, the SGAA Stained Glass School took a new step forward in offering top-quality classes at its facility in Raytown, Missouri.

It was fitting that the first class offered should be Stained Glass 101, an introduction to stained glass fabrication and painting. The class was taught by Jerome Durr, then SGAA President, and Bob Markert, SGAA School Director. Students came from all over the Kansas City metro area to take part in the class, which included trips to the Nelson Atkins Museum, Kathy Barnard’s Kansas City studio, and Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral for an afternoon spent studying photographing stained glass in the field.

The next workshop to be offered at the SGAA Stained Glass School facility is A Focus on Enamels with Jim Berberich. At the time of publication of this magazine, this class was already at capacity, and a waiting list had been created in case of vacancies. Students will be coming from around the world to study painting with enamels on glass with painter Jim Berberich, who has taught at past SGAA Annual Summer Conferences and whose work is widely known and respected.

For more information on future SGAA Stained Glass School class offerings, watch this publication; the SGAA Facebook page; and, of course, the various SGAA and School websites, especially

The INDY 2013 Conference – From the Editor’s Desk 132

In my opinion, this year’s Annual Summer Conference, which was held in Indianapolis, Indiana, in early June, was one of the better conferences the Stained Glass Association of America has had in recent years, and the SGAA has a history of quality conferences. This year’s presentations were informative, entertaining, and engaging; the exhibition had some extremely fine pieces that represented stained glass very well; and the venue itself — downtown Indianapolis — was extremely nice, clean, and home to a number of excellent restaurants, not the least of which was the Weber Grill. I know there were a number of others who enjoyed eating there as much as I did, and for them — and for anyone else who might find it interesting — I’d like to point out that their website,, features recipes of some of the dishes they serve there.
I would also like to say a very big thank you to SGAA member Michael “Zimmy” Zimmerman. When I say this conference could not have been what it was without him, that is no exaggeration. Because of my knee injury, I was not able to drive, nor was I able to do much lifting or many of the other things that I regularly do at a conference. Zimmy flew to Kansas City, helped load the truck, drove it to Indianapolis, and helped with every aspect of setup and cleanup above and beyond what he had volunteered to do as chairman of the Exhibition Committee. The SGAA is blessed with many members whose dedication to the Association and whose strength of character and desire to advance the cause of the Ancient Craft is truly impressive; Michael Zimmerman certainly deserves to be recognized as one of those members.
Of course, I also have to mention the 125th Anniversary Celebration at Kokomo Opalescent Glass. What fun that was! I have been fortunate enough to have visited Kokomo in the past and was happy to be there again. I, like most who are involved in stained glass, really enjoy watching sheets of glass being made. While watching the men taking ladles of molten glass from the furnace to the roller, I made the same comment I made last time I was there and the same comment I am sure I will make the next time I am there: I wonder how much I would have to pay them to let me do that job for fifteen minutes?
Our hosts — John O’Donnell, Dick Elliott, and the entire Kokomo Opalescent Glass staff — were wonderful hosts. They treated us to quite a celebration, and it was very nice to be able to celebrate this important milestone with them.
The Stained Glass Association of America’s Annual Summer Conference could not be what it is without the support of our sponsors. (For a complete sponsor list, please see pages 98 and 99; please be sure to support these companies with your business, and let them know you appreciate their support of the SGAA.) Every one of our sponsors is directly responsible for much of the success of the Conference. I would especially like to extend a personal thank you to Jon Rarick of Reusché & Company of T.W.S., Inc., and Robert Jayson of S.A. Bendheim, Inc. These long-time supporters truly understand the vision of the Association and are willing to support that vision as we work for a better future for stained, decorative, and architectural art glass. Not only are they willing to support the Annual Summer Conference, but they also generously support the SGAA Stained Glass School with donations of materials for both conference classes and on-site workshops at the SGAA Headquarters. Gentlemen, I thank you for that support.
I started off by saying I thought this was one of the better Annual Summer Conferences in recent years, and it certainly was! However, I have to say that I am expecting next year’s conference — an Artists’ Retreat at the historic Elms Resort & Spa in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, which is just northeast of Kansas City — to exceed even Indianapolis. The discussion and planning for the Artists’ Retreat has been very exciting. There will be more hands-on classes and workshops as a regular part of the Conference than there has been at recent conferences. This format is not simply a new direction for the Association’s Annual Summer Conference; it is really more a return to our roots and revisiting the format of Conferences long ago, when it was not uncommon for the Association to plan a life-drawing class for its members complete with music provided by a string quartet. Like I said, it has been very exciting to be a part of that planning; you can expect to see much more about Excelsior Springs 2014 over the next several issues as planning progresses.

SGAA Recommendations for the Safe Use of Aerial Lifts, Scaffolding, Ladders, & Ladder-Jack Scaffolds

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.


Available from:


The SGAA Headquarters

9313 East 63rd Street

Raytown, MO 64133



Pricing: SGAA Members & Affiliates, $3; non-members, $5; shipping, $1.

Where Can I Learn Professional Stained Glass Techniques?

114 CoverSerious 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.


Artistic Excellence

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.


Technical Proficiency

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.


Continuing Education

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.


In Conclusion

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.

Your Business Plan

Spring 2011 President’s Message by Jack Whitworth, III.


Are you executing your business plan? Is your strategy successful? You DID make a plan for this year. After all, that is what you were encouraged to do in the Winter issue of The Stained Glass Quarterly! If you did not write down some plans for this year, it is still not too late. It is better to “find” a map to get you on track to your destination than to never have one.

Have you registered yet for the 2011 Summer Confe-rence in Syracuse? There is still time! The SGAA Board of Directors voted last month to extend the discount that was originally to be discontinued in March so that everyone has the opportunity to attend the Conference at a reduced cost. The Board did this because it is our responsibility to try to help each of you be successful — and this is the most direct decision we could make to impact your business in a positive way. Find a way to be there. You and your business will benefit from your efforts.

So, let’s be realistic. You made a plan and set some goals. You started taking steps to make a difference in your business this year — and you have seen little or no improvement in your business or your future. Where did things get off track?

Well, the SGAA has a plan for you: A Board member of the SGAA came up with the idea that we need a Business Forum for members only, to try to help each other. In order to do so, and to keep your business “your business,” — the Headquarters office will receive e-mails from our members and reconfigure them (no studio names or locations) to be sent to a panel of stained glass experts for suggestions and solutions. This information will be published via an e-mail blast to the SGAA members. The intent is to help our members discover new ideas, unique solutions and assistance by providing decades of experience to those who desire it. This Business Forum will work only if you are committed to finding solutions and opportunities for yourself and your business. This can become an important benefit of belonging to the Stained Glass Association of America.

As we continue to face the ever-changing guidelines concerning lead issues, restoration issues, and a host of regulations, we must move toward providing assistance and knowledge to our members. The Stained Glass Association and the Stained Glass School are not only about education concerning techniques and procedures. We are equally as dedicated to providing support to our members and our industry.

Our industry will be successful only if we are successful. At some point in most of our lives, we discover that we receive proportionately to what we give. The Stained Glass Association of America is in the business of attempting to give our members every opportunity to be successful. In return, the SGAA becomes stronger, and the perception of who and what we are becomes a reality — an organization that gives.

If you have an interest in stained, decorative and architectural art glass, I encourage you to be an active member of the Stained Glass Association of America. I implore your commitment because I know that you will receive opportunities far in excess of your giving. The time is now, and the potential is beyond comprehension. Join me in Syracuse this Summer, and hear and see what the SGAA and the SGAA Stained Glass School are doing to meet the challenges of tomorrow and the years ahead.


Why Teaching Is So Important

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?

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.

Donation Challenge

This Donation Challenge for the Kansas City Summer Conference has been issued by Sue Shea of Stained Glass Resources, Inc., of Hampden, Massachusetts (, an SGAA Fully-Accredited Studio: Make a donation now to the Stained Glass Association of America’s Summer Conference, and donations received by 05/21/10 as a result of this post will be matched dollar for dollar (up to $5,000.00) by Stained Glass Resources, Inc!

To take part in this challenge, contact the SGAA Headquarters at 800.438-9581 or via email at and mention that you are responding to Sue Shea’s challenge when you make your donation.

Summer Conference 2010 Classes

The SGAA Stained Glass School is proud to continue its tradition of hands-on classes prior to the Annual Summer Conference for the Stained Glass Association of America. These classes are designed to be professional-level classes, taught by professionals for professionals.

This year, for the Kansas City 2010 conference, a second day has been added to the class schedule to provide for longer, more intensive classes. This will continue next year at the conference to be held in Syracuse, and even longer class schedules are under consideration.

This is an excellent, inexpensive way to increase your knowledge or to expand the expertise of your employees. Classes range in skill level from Beginner to Advanced. Each class description gives exact details of instructor, materials provided or required, skill level and if any previous skills are required.

Beginning with the Kansas City 2010 conference all participants will receive a Certificate of Completion. The hours earned will be eligible for the newly reconstructed program SGAA Certificates of Competence. For more information on the program contact the SGAA Headquarters at 800.438.9581. Click KC2010 Conference Workshops to download the PDF Flier. (This flier downloads from the website.)