Apprentice to Artisan
My Roots in the Art of Stained Glass
POB 177 Lyme Center NH 03769 : 603-795-4673 :
My professional career has been blessed with the good
luck of having worked for and with some of the great old studios in this country--
traditional studios who were still carrying out the work of designing and
fabricating sophisticated ecclesticial windows in the 'old style.' What made
the experience special, and so important to my development, was the knowledge that the old
artists and craftsmen in these studios were at the end of their 30, 40, 50
years of love and labor. They could clearly see the end of their
working time and also recognize the closing of an Era of the big, dynamic studio-workshop,
places that employed 50-100 people churning out acres of beautifully sophisticated
stained glass. I believe this knowledge made them realize that all of their accumulated
wisdom was in danger of disappearing. This made them as much story-tellers and
tradition-passers as artists and craftsmen.
The Studio's Clients
At Connick Associates, for example, my time was spent learning traditional
glass painting from Ralf Nicholson, then in his 70's and an employee there
since his late 20's. He had followed his brother Harold, the 'cartooner' there. Louis Cammacho was
the 'colorist' who chose the glass and cut the windows; all of them were eager to tell
their stories and pass along the stories of the lives of the men and women with whom they spent
their professional careers. My memories of Connick are so intertwined with technical advice,
artistic influences and
personal stories that it all seems mixed in one big stew, and properly so.
This style of traditional apprenticeship is balanced with three years
working for Patrick Reyntiens and, indirectly, John Piper. Two years of that was spent
fabricating the great 50' x 60' window for Robinson College at Cambridge
University. The other year was spent at Reyntiens glass painting school helping him
finish several ecclesticial windows.
The importance of my experience with Patrick Reyntiens was, and is, his insistence
that to be a good glass-maker, one first and foremost had to become a good artist,
for without the foundation of good art you will never have a good window.
He taught that a design must be done without thought for leadline or
technique; an experienced glass-maker will find or invent whatever techniques are
necessary to create a window from the design.
I started my own studio here in Lyme Center, NH, in 1984,
dedicated to the design and fabrication of stained glass for churches and
other clients in New England". I feel quite lucky to have been
associated with such a diverse yet focused and gifted group of people and,
in my small way, continue to pay honor to their talents.
Inside the Studio:
Follow the progress on some of our projects by visiting our
Picasa web site.