by Michelle Loconte
Broken glass scattered on the table. The smell of clay and sawdust sticks to my skin as if the scent belongs to me. The craftsman in the corner gives a wise smile. I, now all too familiar to this, tend to my job, continuing the work again. You will not find me at any party, rather in my grandpa’s workshop as he teaches me his trade. His 50 years of practice, my seven-year development of a dying skill. There is beauty in broken glass. Individualism in each color. Speckled blues to deep greens. Soft yellows, pearl whites, and fiery reds. It takes an artist, though, to work, shape, and paint upon the pieces, to create the marbled, checker-board puzzles we look to bring in light.
The experience of assisting a stained glass artisan has brought me closer to many developments in my character. Patience. Working each task as a process and not a chore, allowing me to value life’s journeys and not just its destinations. Dedication. Long hours of detailed, repetitive action. Pulse found in scissors cutting the templates for the glass to be retraced in. Rhythm in the application of the clay as we brush it between the braces of the structured bars. The muse of the work has imbedded itself in me. Being able to share so much of life with my grandpa gives me much depth in character, sharing the gaps between our stretched generations.
I have learned we all, like stained glass, are made up of complex pieces, portrayed throughout our lives in different hues of light. My understanding of this observation by working with glass has gained me versatility, as I now accept people for what experiences they are made up of, not just their altered first imperfections. Unique, complex, perceptive, stained glass is a part of me.
[Editor’s Note: This essay was written as one of Michelle Loconte’s college application essays. Michelle is the grandaughter of Curtis Rolfe.]
Larry Zgoda, Artist in Stained Glass at Iannelli Studios Heritage Center
In January and February of 2015, Larry Zgoda will have an exhibition of works in stained glass and other arts at the Iannelli Studios Heritage Center in Park Ridge, Illinois. Zgoda has worked in stained glass for more than forty years and has distinguished his art with exceptional design, innovations in materials, and meticulous craft techniques. This collection of original compositions will include hanging panels and freestanding, stained glass sculptures inspired by architecture. This, his first one-man show ever, will also feature many photographic representations of his architectural commissions, public arts, furniture, and other craft arts.
The Iannelli Studios Heritage Center is the original home and studio of the sculptor Alfonso Iannelli (1888-1965) and a place where a number of notable participants in the Chicago Renaissance worked and sometimes lived, including Edgar Miller, Bruce Goff, Barry Byrne and Roscoe Harold Zook. The property was recently purchased by the Kalo Foundation and has been in the process of being transformed into a museum and art center.
The exhibition will open on Sunday, January 11 with a public reception from 1 to 4 in the afternoon and run through February 23. The Iannelli Studios Heritage Center is located at 225 N Northwest Hwy in Park Ridge, IL, just north of the city of Chicago. Regular hours are Saturday, 10 to 3; and Sunday, 1 to 4.
Society of Architectural Historians Announces 68th Annual International Conference in Chicago
2015 SAH Annual International Conference: Chicago at the Global Crossroads; April 15–19 at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza (#SAH2015) — The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) will hold its 68th Annual International Conference in Chicago, Illinois, April 15–19, 2015, with the theme “Chicago at the Global Crossroads.” SAH will celebrate its 75th anniversary during the conference, which includes lectures, roundtables, and 36 paper sessions covering topics in architecture, art, and architectural history, preservation, landscape architecture, and the built environment. SAH is committed to engaging both conference attendees and local participants with public programming that includes more than 30 architectural tours, a plenary talk, and a half-day seminar addressing Chicago’s waterways and neighborhoods. To view a complete schedule, visit sah.org/2015.
Blair Kamin – Introductory Talk: Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin will open the conference with the talk, “Architecture Criticism: Dead or Alive.” Kamin is the recipient of 35 awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, which he received in 1999 for a body of work highlighted by a series of articles that addressed the challenges and opportunities of Chicago’s lakefront.
Gwendolyn Wright – Plenary Talk – open to the public: Gwendolyn Wright, professor of architecture at Columbia University, will give the plenary talk “The Role of Play: Looking for Patterns and Crossing Boundaries.” Wright is an award-winning architectural historian, author and host of the popular PBS series History Detectives. The plenary talk is presented in partnership with the Architecture & Design Society and will take place in the Rubloff Auditorium at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Charles Waldheim – Keynote Address: The conference’s main public event, the Chicago Seminar, opens with a keynote address by Charles Waldheim, John E. Irving Professor of Landscape Architecture and Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Waldheim has written extensively on the history and future of Chicago urbanism.
SAH Chicago Seminar – open to the public: The Chicago Seminar, Magnitudes of Change: Local Sites and Global Concerns in Chicago’s Built Environment, is a half-day program that brings together conference attendees and local participants. Two panel discussions will address the history and future of Chicago waterways and issues of community and preservation in Chicago neighborhoods. Panelists include: Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang Architects; Martin Felsen, UrbanLab and Illinois Institute of Technology; Carol Ross Barney, Ross Barney Architects; Debra Shore, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District; Robert Bruegmann, University of Illinois at Chicago; Patricia Saldaña Natke, UrbanWorks; and Alaina Harkness, MacArthur Foundation. Alison Fisher, Harold and Margot Schiff Assistant Curator of Architecture at the Art Institute of Chicago, will serve as moderator. The program is funded by a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts and will take place at the Buchanan Chapel in the Gratz Center, 126 E. Chestnut St.
Architecture Tours – open to the public: More than 30 guided tours of Chicago’s architecture and landscapes will be available for conference attendees and the general public to attend. Led by leaders in the fields of architecture, architectural history and preservation, these tours give visitors and residents alike a chance to explore the city and learn from local experts.
- TR1 Aqua Tower
- TR2 Sacred Spaces in the Loop: St. Peter’s Church and the Loop Synagogue
- TR3 Spectacular Interiors of the Chicago Cultural Center and Monroe Buildings
- TR4 Art Deco Skyscraper Interiors
- TR5 Chicago’s Moveable Bridges
- TR6 Cutting-Edge Adaptive Reuse: The Chicago Athletics Association Hotel
- TR7 Chicago School Skyscrapers on South Dearborn Street
- TR8 The Architecture and Adaptive Re-use of Louis Sullivan’s Carson Pirie Scott Building
- TR9 Sacred Spaces in the Loop: First United Methodist Church in the Chicago Temple Building
- TR10 Recent Skyscrapers on North-South Wacker Drive
- TR11 Gateway to North Michigan Avenue
- TR12 Spectacular Interiors of the Chicago Cultural Center and Monroe Buildings
- TR13 Art Deco Skyscraper Interiors
- TR14 Chicago’s Moveable Bridges
- TR15 The Architecture and Adaptive Re-use of Louis Sullivan’s Carson Pirie Scott Building
- TR16 Restoration of the Rookery Building
- TR17 Tour of the Chinatown Neighborhood
- TR18 Pilsen: The Heart of Chicago
- TR19 Albert G. Lane and Carl Schurz High Schools
- TR20 The Near South Side: Mansions, Motor Row, and McCormick Place
- TR21 Walter Netsch and UIC
- TR22 606 Urban Park (pre-opening tour)
- TR23 Provocative New Architecture in Chicago: The Work of JGMA
- TR24 Mid-Century Modern Residential Design in Chicago’s South Suburbs
- TR25 Urban Redevelopment in Chicago’s Uptown Community
- TR26 Wright’s Ravine Bluffs Development and Glasner House
- TR27 SC Johnson Administration Building, Research Tower and Wingspread
- TR28 Chicago’s Public Housing
- TR29 Dearborn Street: A Microcosm of Chicago Urban Development
- TR30 Country Estate Architecture in Lake Forest
- TR31 Does Award-Winning Design Make a Difference? Case Studies in Chicago
- TR32 Wright and Beyond: A Tour of Oak Park, River Forest, and Riverside
- TR33 Pullman: America’s First Planned Company Town
- TR34 Mid-Century Modernism on the River
SAH 75th Anniversary: SAH will celebrate the 75th anniversary of its founding during the conference with a party at The Rookery, Daniel Burnham and John Wellborn Root’s 1888 landmark that was renovated by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1905. The event is co-sponsored by the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust and the Vernacular Architecture Forum.
Paper Sessions: Thirty-six paper sessions featuring 183 speakers from across the globe will explore the history of the built environment from antiquity to the critical present. Global-local topics span from “Industrial Landscapes and Heritage: A Global Examination” to “Vernacular Chicago: Architecture in the City of Broad Shoulders” and “Environmental Technologies in History: Chicago’s Role.” View paper sessions at bit.ly/2015sessions.
Registration: Early registration opens on January 6, 2015. Registration rates increase on February 16, 2015. View registration rates and information at sah.org/2015/registration.
(Public registration for tours opens on Feb. 16, 2015. Visit sah.org/2015/tours for more information.)
About SAH: Founded in 1940, the Society of Architectural Historians is a nonprofit membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism worldwide.