I trained and honed my skills as a designer and constructing major stained glass pieces, at Glassworks of Aptos, California now renamed Renaissance Glassworks. During the transition and name change, requests of commissioned work for churches increased, as well as commercial architectural projects and private residential statements. I particularly enjoy doing contemporary architectural stained glass for Jewish synagogues. I am chief designer and I owe my skills for artistic style and substance to Ron Root, who has retired to Palm Springs. He pioneered what I call the "neo-classical/cubist" look of stained glass --painting with glass or painting with light to define 3-dimensional fields as though you were looking at a photograph of the real thing. It was the neo-classical artistic realism that attracted me to stained glass design, which I have carried forward at Renaissance Glassworks studio.
My degree is in comparative literature and religion, so large church/synagogue projects, for example, are of high appeal to me because of the challenge and interest I have in historical research. One church project required (8) 2 ¼ foot by 7 ¼ foot panels of 3-6 century pre-Christian saints of the British Isles. Another asked for twenty (20) 2 x 2 foot panels of Black international heroes, which included the likes of Harriet Tubman, Bishop Tutu, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, and Mahatma Gandhi, including liturgical themes. Then later my client asked, "We'd like a 6-foot circle dove of peace facing the front of the sanctuary, over the 200-voiced choir (as seen on our home page)." So the question became, how do you take these faces of these distinguished individuals and communicate a central theme like the dove of peace? Such artistic challenges are what keep me in the business.
Once research is completed, whether it is for an architectual project, house of worship, private residences or commercial businesses, I consider design elements to compliment the interior of the site for the glass statement. In a modern setting, perhaps sweeping lines of different sized leads, might be in order, or abstract, uneven straight lines. Color may be tightly controlled or limiting, so using different textured clear glass, for example, might be very effective.
I love glass. I love how light refracts through glass. Glass is my paintbrush. I purchase glass for its individual properties of hue, color saturation and tone. I like designing with bevels and I do, in addition, paint on glass and fire it. However, I try to limit it to the face, hands and feet. Most of my work is designed for leaded construction, using different sizes of leads, although some projects have been designed for foil as well. My work has appeared in art magazines like Glass Art, numerous newspaper articles and one piece, I'm proud to say, hangs in the Pope's private residence at the Vatican. For me, designing in stained glass has been an artistic journey and one I look forward traveling with you.