“We do not get to know people by their coming to us.
We must go to them to find out what they are like.”
“It’s what’s on the inside that counts.”
People appreciate that their project is designed specifically for them and will never be reproduced.
When we find a company that makes stained glass, we order their samples and build a rack so we can study them in natural light. We now have 35 racks with hundreds of glass samples. Combining the different characters of the glass as well as their colors for each project individually is an art unto itself.
These samples are useful in communicating with our clients, but to select the final glass we group our projects together and visit the vendors to hand select. Ordering based solely on the samples is very risky.
How colors interact with each other is of great concern. On this very complicated project, we placed the cut pieces on a piece of clear glass that was laid over a pattern. As we progressed, we would hold the “tray” of clear glass over our heads to see how the colors interacted.
We buy our stained glass in sheets to give us a wide range of color to select from. It takes the eyes at least 20 minutes to absorb color, and so much of our time is spent in selection. It’s not unusual for a few leaves to be cut from a sheet and the remainder placed in our racks.
Projects evolve. Each day we see them a little differently, constantly trying to imporve what we have created. All of our sketches are done free hand, and with computers and modern technology, we are able to make refinments full scale.
We cut each piece of glass by hand. Sometimes we’ll use a
diamond band saw for sharp inside cuts and a diamond grinder for close fits.
Being surrounded by sunlight helps us to create windows that match the
direction of the light they will receive in their final setting.
We are always looking for new ways to use glass. Painting, acid etching, carving,
beveling, lamp working… combining the materials from different sources and working
them in creative, never ending ways is a wonderful way to spend one’s life.
Sculpting solder with a 250 watt soldering iron. It is amazing how solder will
follow the heat and what one can achieve with patience and practice.
A cozy way to spend the day. Putty drying by the coal stove, radios on;
pushing putty around our stained glass windows can be a nice break from the stress of creativity.
To make our windows weather resistant, we push putty under all the leads.
This also gives the window much of its strength. Final cleaning is time consuming and tedious,
but gives the window a polished, finished look.
As the glue dries, it grasps the frosted glass and peals it to achieve the chip effect.
We always chip three times as much glass as we need so we can select for the effect we are trying to achieve.
Glue chipping is an old art glass process where one heats aminal glue in a double boiler
and pours in onto a level piece of glass that has been sandblasted. By varying the ratio of glue
to water and how many times we chip the glass we are able to achieve many different textures.
All five of my step children worked in the studio as they were growing up. My father took me to work
with him when I was a child, and as an adult I now consider it one of the most important parts of my life.
This is Matthew, another stepson, helping me cut a pattern.
My stepson, Daniel White, has worked with me since he was a teenager. Now at, 30, we work together as
a team, learning from each other as he prepares to make our studio his life’s work. This partnership and
the passing of our art from one generation to another is the pinnacle of my career and gives me great joy.
After transforming our design to a rubber stencil on the glass, we cut the design with an exacto knife.
To achieve the depth and shadows for a landscape design such as this we carved with various mediums from fine to coarse.
Removing the stencil, carving, replacing the stencil, carving… we build on the process.
Sculpting with metal in our windows gives us the ability to create life-like forms like tree and vine motifs,
sometimes adding thorns and branches that protrude beyond the surface of the glass.
Here we use an electric hand-held melting pot to pour the base metal.
Documenting our projects as they develop for our archives and emailing updates to our clients.
Hand beveling on our 1915 Henry Lang machinery. By holding the glass over rotating iron,
stone, cork, and felt, many small facetes are created to give the bevel its character.
By “waxing” the glass to an area of the studio where the light is the same as where the window will end up
is very important to the success of our projects. We also take into account the presence of trees or sky behind our windows.
Painting on glass is an art unto itself.
This is Missy Scott, one of the most gifted people I have ever worked with.
We created a wall 26′ x 9′ of cut mirror and black glass for a disco around 30 years ago.
You can see the design sketch in the photograph. By leaving the edge clean cut, the revolving
light would travel along the design lines.