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Larry Zgoda donates Edgar Miller stained glass drawings

Larry Zgoda has recently donated his collection of original stained-glass working drawings by renowned Chicago artist Edgar Miller to the Organic Architecture & Design (OAD) Archive.

Eric O’Malley of OAD accepted the collection on April 12, 2014, and hopes to keep them with the organization’s vast collection of historically significant documents.

Larry Zgoda became a friend of Edgar Miller in the early 1980s, when the artist, in his 80s, began working in stained glass after many years away from Chicago. They worked together in the traditional artist/studio relationship on approximately 25 stained glass projects between 1984 and 1991. The projects were sometimes tiny, as in the Angel for Jo Mead, or ambitious, as in The World for the John S. Van Bergen-designed, 1926 Humer Building. Edgar Miller passed away in 1993.

A part of Miller’s artistic legacy is contained in several unique properties on Chicago’s north side — multi-unit complexes of artist studios containing much art, ornament, and architectural flair. The profusely illustrated book, Edgar Miller and the Handmade Home, was published in 2009.

The Organic Architecture & Design Archive was recently created by Eric O’Malley; Randolph C. Henning; and William Blair Scott, Jr. for the purpose of preserving the archives of significant architects & designers with a focus on organic design. They also publish a journal dedicated to the same cause.

Larry Zgoda was pleased to find an organization which would accept and preserve these unique documents.

The Chicago Stained Glass Invitational Exhibition

On an overcast Wednesday afternoon, the Chicago and vicinity stained glass community gathered at Solstice Stained Glass Studio on the near west side for the first-ever Chicago Stained Glass Invitational Exhibition. This was part of the Glass Art Society’s Day of Glass taking place in conjunction with their 43rd annual conference, being held in Chicago for the very first time. The gathering and exhibition were modest: 14 studios and individuals participated. Many aspects of the stained glass art were illustrated and demonstrated. Ed Gilbertson showed a Tiffany window in the process of restoration. Andy DeLaRosa demonstrated the cut and pierced lead technique made popular in Chicago by Edgar Miller. There were painted and stained works by Bill Klopsch, Alex Zemskoff, and Sean Michael Felix. Drehobl Studio showed a painted piece done in collaboration with Sean Michael Felix. There were antique examples of stenciling from Isaac Malis. Mark Radina showed a panel containing fused and slumped pieces combined with beveled dalle de verre components. Uri Guchinia and his wife Nathalie showed fused glass panels and glass mosaic.

Vitaliious Vol-kovas illustrated how the spun bottoms of wine glasses can be used as rondels. Since they were wine glasses intended for the event, a dilemma ensued. It was difficult for one to put down his/her wine glass, while there was still wine in it. Many of us know what might result from this situation.

Cassy St. Clair-Krueger demonstrated disassembling a historic leaded panel underwater.

The hostess, Emily Carlson, showed several original, contemporary compositions juxtaposed in salvaged sashes and antique picture frames. Her main attraction was demonstrating the fabrication of a maquette for a monumental sculpture that employs laminated glass, in a collaborative work with steel artist Riggs Barr.

The host, Larry Zgoda, had several things going on. He set up (with the help of Lara Rosenbush) an ongoing slide show of stained glass by Chicago’s Edgar Miller, he showed a museum quality panel of Miller’s stained glass, and he hawked the Miller book on the side. He exhibited two original works. side. Witch’s Worm, an easel-mounted work that includes an application of his original technique, Opus Vitri Fusium, in which many small glass pieces of mosaic tesserae are fused onto a base glass and then leaded into the composition. His second work was a study in Clovis Glass, where the individual glass pieces are scalloped, with a visual result resembling the knapped flint arrowheads of antiquity.

The intention of the event was met with resounding success, showing members of the Glass Art Society (and the rest of the world) the vitality of stained glass in this historically notorious city.

The many GAS members who came by were pleasantly surprised by the degree of activity and camaraderie in the stained glass community in Chicago. The day was topped off with an evening of festive conviviality.

Where the Chicago Stained Glass Invitational goes from here remains to be seen. All of the participants and many of the guests would like to have further events. There’s talk of a painting workshop. Zgoda would like to see some corporate involvement. Collaborations between studios are being discussed. Whatever comes about, this event surely brought a group of people together who previously had only rare opportunity to get to know their fellow stained glassers.


Letters to the Editor

Hello Richard:

I really enjoyed your recent technical articles on silver stains and painting on glass. Let’s have more technical articles.

                                Thanks a million,
Peter Ruplinger

Thank you, Peter. I always like to receive technical articles for consideration. Unfortunately, I never receive as many of them as I would like. However, there is an open invitation to anyone who would like to write a technical article or two for this magazine. I can be contacted via email at if folks have ideas for articles they would like to write. — Richard Gross

Thanks so much for your excellent article, “Glass Painting Part Two” in the Winter 2013 issue.

Like many skills, “the devil is in the details,” and your very concise suggestions for paint to binder ratios and visual cues to watch for when laying down multiple mattes are especially helpful.

Jack Calligan

Thank you for your letter. That article comes from the second edition of the SGAA’s Reference & Technical Manual, which has been out of print for a number of years. A lot of people contributed to that publication, and it is a truly remarkable expression of years of stained glass experience and knowledge. There will be more reprinted from both the painting chapter and from other parts of the book in future issues of this magazine. — Richard Gross

Making Menfolk Exhibition

Artist Debora Coombs’ exhibition, Making Menfolk, a collection of stained glass panels and working drawings, can be seen at the Lavender Door Gallery in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, through July 30, 2014.

Also on exhibit will be shop drawings, photos, and videos about Coombs’ working process.

Crowdfunded Restoration

What better day than the 14th of July, France’s national day, for American Friends of Chartres (AFC) to launch its first Crowdfunding Campaign on This is to finance an unprecedented project: the restoration of a 20-foot-high, thirteenth-century stained glass window from Chartres Cathedral, France, which will then travel to the United States for exhibit in a major American Museum.

Notre-Dame de Chartres, a UNESCO World Heritage monument since 1979, harbors the largest collection of 12th and 13th century stained glass under one roof in the world. Chartres is also one of the most illustrious Gothic cathedrals for the beauty and simplicity of its lines. Its emblematic steeples towering over the wheat fields, an hour away southwest of Paris is “a lasting memory for the one million Americans who visit every year,” says Anne Sullivan, AFC’s executive director.

Visit the link above for more information about this project.

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