Why Every Summer Conference Has Opportunities

The Stained Glass Quarterly, Summer 2011Were 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!