American Glass Guild


Drew Anderson
Linda Cannon
Debora Coombs
Jerry Durr
Jean Farnsworth
Arthur Femenella
Ken Follett
Kevin Grabowski
Mary C. Higgins
Stephen Koob
Barbara Krueger
Mark Liebowitz
Dick Millard
Karen Mulder
Sylvia Nicolas
Robert Pinart
Geoff Wallace
David Wilson


2006 Conference Schedule

Hampton Inn & Suites Albany Downtown

Albany, NY

July 21–24, 2006






Friday, July 21, 2006                                                                          

For more information on each speaker click on their name.



              Robert Pinart                                Debora Coombs


11:00 am - 12:30 pm



12:30 pm - 1:00 pm

Tribute to Jim Whitney 

The AGG is dedicating this conference to the life and memory of Jim Whitney. Jim was a strong supporter of the AGG during its inception. Jim approached his life, his craft and his art with great passion and high level of integrity. We hope that his zest for life and his pursuit if excellence will inspire all who attend this conference to further their understanding and love for stained glass. Jim’s wife, Kathryn McWilliams Whitney, will be a displaying a small portion of Jim’s great body of work and life. She will be showing slides of his work, a short movie, and the last project he worked on.


1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Welcome/Introduction All attendees will meet to introduce themselves and discuss the aims of the conference.


2:00 pm - 2:50 pm

Robert Pinart: (NY) The Glass Will Tell the Story


3:00 pm - 3:50 pm

Linda Cannon: (Scotland)  Cottier Window Restoration: “Daniel Cottier was one of the pioneers of modern stained glass in Scotland. He became chief designer for the stained glass firm of Field & Allan of Edinburgh and Leith, then worked alone before moving from his native Glasgow to London in 1870. He later became a strong force in the Aesthetic movement in the United States and AustraliaLinda, and her partner, Rab MacInnes are currently restoring over 400 stained glass panels by Cottier in the former Dowanhill Church in Glasgow that was designed in 1867 by the architect William Lieper and decorated by Cottier. This is Cottier’s first complete glazing scheme. Linda will discuss the myriad conservation and logistical problems encountered and solved by Cannon-MacInnes during the restoration.”


4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Debora Coombs: (England, Readsboro, VT)  Raising the Bar: The Good, The Lead and The Ugly: Tracery, proportion and structure in stained glass Bars and leadlines are arguably the strongest visual elements in a stained glass window. They can easily overwhelm a composition. Bars and leadlines are like the skeleton, providing physical support and guiding the overall form. How can we design stained glass that is both physically strong and aesthetically pleasing, with bars that complement the surrounding architecture and integrate successfully with our imagery? How can we ensure that bars and leadlines will not distract the viewer? This slide presentation will show historic and contemporary windows from a designer’s point of view. Why are some windows more successful than others? How were medieval windows structured and why? How should we approach new designs for historic tracery? Is good design intuitive or can it be taught? Debora will offer techniques for laying out the basic structure of a window and show how tonal relationships can be used to integrate bars and leadlines into the overall composition.


5:00 pm - 7:15 pm Break (Dinner on your own)


7:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Tip Time:  Crock-pots are not just for casseroles anymore (Moderated by Vic Rothman)
This hour will focus on adopting various non-stained glass items for in shop use, as well as modifying and making tools from found objects.  Conference attendees are requested to bring their own innovations to the conference in the form of slides, or verbal description, for group participation.


8:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Albinas Elskus’ Windows Depicting the First American Catholic Saint

Presented by: Cliff Oster

Presentation of slides of the Mother Seton windows located in Shrub Oak, NY.  These windows, fabricated by Rohlf Studio, depict the life of the first American Catholic Saint and were designed and painted by Albinas Elskus in the early 1980's.  I believe that they are his finest windows. If not, they have to be in his top five.  Since this was the first commercial use of Ancient Walpole Silver stain, Albin provided me with copies of his own Seton slides.  I can also relate some of the stories behind their creation.   In my estimation, this series is relatively unknown and yet tremendously important in the history of American stained glass.


8:30 pm -

Slide Show of Attendees Work (new and restoration) Bring one to five slides of your work (new or restoration) to include in slide show. 


Saturday, July 22, 2006                                                                      




                          Jerry Durr                                          David Wilson


9:00 am - 9:50 am

Jean M. Farnsworth (Philadelphia, PA) The state of the American Stained-Glass Craft Prior to the Civil War: A Brief Examination of the Craftsmen, their Techniques and a Few Extant Windows: The American stained-glass craft is never portrayed as thriving during the years prior to the Civil War.  In fact discussion of this period is usually limited to a few well-known American-made windows such as those produced by William Jay and John Bolton for [St. Ann and] Holy Trinity, those by John and George Gibson for the United States Capitol or imported windows.  This presentation will focus on contemporary literature, promotional material, census and exhibition records all suggesting that the young American industry could accurately be described as flourishing prior to 1861. At that point production was, with some exceptions, interrupted by the war and a depressed economy until the 1870s.   Jean’s presentation will include brief remarks by Mary C. Higgins.


Barbara Krueger: (Hartland, MI) Statewide Surveys of Stained Glass Windows: Organizing a Statewide Survey of Stained Glass:  Secrets and Successes.  Barbara Krueger, a co-director will discuss the Michigan Stained Glass Census under the auspice of the Michigan State University Museum where the registration for over 1200 buildings has been done entirely by volunteers in the past 12 years.


10:00 am - 10:50 am

Arthur Femenella: (Annandale, NJ) Victoria's Secret - Traditional and Non-Traditional Means of Support: Slide lecture and physical examples of traditional and non-traditional support. Tee bars, flat bars, saddle bars, tie-wires, structural fins and structural plating will be discussed. The importance of allowing for proper support in design of new windows, proper leading techniques and glass cutting will be touched upon. 


Karen Mulder:  (University of Virginia, Charlottesville) “A Season of Impact: Revisiting the Influence of Schaffrath, Schreiter, Poensgen and the Germans”: Does anyone remember that 1976 Glass Art cover story, asking “Is There a ‘Schaffrathization’ of American Stained Glass?” Even if you don’t, this visual review of large-scale installations in some of Germany’s most historic churches will inspire creativity. Along the way, survey German artists’ innovative responses to postwar reconstruction, Holocaust guilt, architectural preservation, and modern attitudes towards religious iconography and tourism in a land scarred by war. Wandering lead lines, Plexiglas grounds, regimented lenses and restrained color palettes join monumental fingerprints, traffic signs, stock market quotes, ancient manuscript excerpts and scientific formulas that characterize this unique development.


11:00 am - 11:50 am

Jerry Durr: (Syracuse, NY) Nurture or Nature?  How I Design: The genesis and fruition of various glass projects.


Drew Anderson: (Metropolitan Museum, NY), Linda Cannon and Geoff Wallace:  CVMA Guidelines for the Conservation of Stained Glass: The new guidelines are intended to apply equally to glass of all periods and geographical origins. They emphasize the significance of stained glass as a work of art, whether it is located in an architectural setting or in a museum or private collection. The methods, philosophy and approach to preventive conservation differ greatly from the current practice of ‘restoration' as it is understood in the US.


12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Break (Lunch in the Hotel Provided by AGG)


1:00 pm - 1:50 pm

Sylvia Nicolas: (Mont Vernon, NH), A Stroll Through the History and Iconography of European Stained Glass:  Facts, Fallacies, Myths and Misadventures: The so-called secrets of stained glass and how they originated.  Privileges and perils of the glass painters in the middle ages and the climb from anonymity to recognition.    Financing of commissions by donors and sinners.    The importance of storytelling and why the Poor Man’s Bible of the late middle ages is still important in modern times.

Linda Cannon: (Scotland) Professional Accreditation for Conservators in the United Kingdom, How it Works: Linda is an Accredited Conservator, and have been since the Accreditation Scheme started in 1990 / 2000. Since 2002, she has represented the Stained Glass Section of the United Kingdom Institute for Conservation on the Professional Conservation Committee which covers all aspects of conservation in Britain, including Textiles, Paper, Wood, Archaeology, Metals, Stone etc.)

2:00 pm - 2:50 pm

Mark Liebowitz: (Pearl River, NY) "Mark, My Love, Find Me That Special Blue" My Thirty-Year Love Affair with the Artists or How to Perform Safe Fabrication: How I became, and continue to be, a fabricator, an atelier.    My introduction to stained glass was in the milieu of a college art history lecture hall, my degree is in Art History. I first looked at the great milestones of medieval glass juxtaposed with all of the great and not so great, monuments of artistic creation as presented in the context of the art history time-line. After graduation Albinus Elskus became my first teacher in glass. After, I found my way to a studio that was a direct descendent of the great church window studios that have come before.  I was in heaven and my talk will start there with the artists I have met, my observations about what was missing for them and what I could do about it, and what I have in fact done about it through my work.  Photos will be presented.

Arthur Femenella: (Annandale, NJ) Why is the Sky Blue?: What happens when you stretch lead? Is it a good idea to mix zinc & lead cames? What is halation? Why do windows deflect? What form of matter is glass? How do you dilute an acid? What does flux do? Does powdered unicorn horn really help when cutting selenium red? Practical science for stained glass professionals. 

3:00 pm - 3:50 pm

Kevin Grabowski (New Berlin, WI) Arthur Femenella (Annandale, NJ): Protective Glazing and Window Installations Panel: The panel will discuss the various options for protective glazing and when protective glazing is appropriate. Installation methods in stone, wood and metal frames will be discussed. Attendees are encouraged to bring in photos or sketches of installation problems they have encountered or have questions about.   

David Wilson: (Charlotteville, NY) The work of Robert Sowers and its Influence on his own Development as an Artist and Designer: A look at the works of Robert Sowers in relationship to some early work of David’s, then a few more recent things.  Sowers was a personal friend of Wilson, and a VERY encouraging influence on him as a young designer in NYC.

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Dick Millard: (Antrim, NH) Replication, Reproduction, or Restoration Painting: A video presentation of the replication of a five lancet Sanctuary window at St. John’s Episcopal Church in West Hartford, CT., along with extensive replication of much of the figural portions of the two transept windows, with primary guidance from photo documentation, which was both foreshortened, and of debatable focus. Time will be allowed for your "painting" questions. 

5:00 pm - 7:15 pm Break (Dinner on your own)

7:30 pm -

Roundtable Discussions



Sunday, July 23, 2006                                                                           


9:00 am - 9:50 am

Mary C. Higgins: (NY) Stained Glass Conservation – Sometimes it is Braine Surgery:  The treatment of an early 13th century window from Braine, France:  The talk will discuss various issues encountered in stained glass conservation, centering on the treatment of a 13th century clerestory window, with reference to other relevant treatments. 


10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Geoff Wallace: (Australia) Preventive and Remedial Conservation: The presentation will introduce the idea of a ‘charter of principles' as an invaluable tool for the working conservator and briefly discuss how to use it to make practical decisions.  Geoffrey will describe his own studio’s methods for preventive conservation developed to conform with the principles of Australia's ‘Burra Charter', a landmark document on the ethics of conservation first compiled in 1974.    

The session will primarily look at his studio's cyclic maintenance program based on the core principles of ‘minimum intervention' and ‘maximum retention' (of fabric).  The vast majority of this work is carried out in situ and the practice of unnecessary excavation or extensive re-leading is frowned upon.  The deterioration and regenerative ability of stained glass will be discussed in relation to the unique qualities and interaction of the traditional materials used in stained glass construction.   Remedial works and practical solutions to problems in specific areas of window decay, including the lead matrix, the cement matrix, glass, glass paint, ferramenta and bedding mortar, will be examined and discussed in detail.

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Break (Lunch in the Hotel Provided by AGG)

1:00 pm - 2:20 pm

Stephen Koob: (Glass conservator at Corning Museum of Glass, NY): Cleaning, Care, and Repair of Glass: Issues concerning the cleaning of glass: materials for cleaning; reasons for cleaning.  Care and storage of glass (for display or long-term preservation).  Adhesives for the repair of glass.


2:30 pm - 3:20 pm

Live Auction!  Please contribute something for our auction to raise funds for AGG educational events. Your contribution does not have to be related to stained glass. Some ideas for contributions are: books, sketches, drawings, a small panel, jewels, bottle of wine, paperweight, gift basket, champagne, homemade cookies, old tools, new tools, anything original. Please send an e-mail to with "Auction" in subject line, letting us know what you will contribute.  Your generosity will help further the goals of the AGG. 


3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Panel Discussion - Both Sides of the Fence: Topical Issues in Stained Glass: (Moderated by Arthur Femenella) To relead or not relead, that is the question. When original lead is thin and weak do you replace with a stronger lead or match original? What kind of putty do you use to waterproof windows?  Does it include driers or plaster of Paris? How do you treat paint loss? - Consolidate? Replicate? Leave alone?  Plate? Disposable artwork: Longevity of technique has been important to the field. Now techniques are being promoted that we know have a limited life span. Is it  repair, restoration, conservation, preservation or none of the above?  

5:00 pm - 7:15 pm Break (6:00 p.m.   Buffet dinner provided by AGG)

7:30 pm -

Roundtable Discussions


Monday, July 24, 2006                                                                          




8:45           Bus for Church Tour departs hotel.  

The Tour includes three historic churches of Troy. St. Paul’s Church was built in 1827. In the 1890’s, the Church underwent major structural changes and also engaged the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company to redesign the interior. There are windows and mosaics by J.A. Holzer. The East window is one of his masterpieces. Other windows, by Cox and Sons of London, the Lamb Studio of New Jersey, and a Boston firm, relate harmoniously to those of Tiffany's.

St. John’s Episcopal Church was built in 1855. The elegant interior is highlighted by a number of great windows, including windows by Tiffany, Holzer, Lamb, Westlake & Barraud, Cox Sons Buckley & Co. and other unknown artists. There are also beautiful mosaic floors by Holzer.

St Joseph RC Church. This large Catholic Church is filled with windows and lamps from the Tiffany Studios of New York. 

12:05     Lunch provided by AGG to attendees staying for the afternoon tour.

 1:15      Arrive at Oakwood Cemetery: Restoration Program

Oakwood Cemetery, founded in 1848 and in continued use since 1850, is significant in landscape architecture as one of New York State's most distinguished and well-preserved 19th century rural cemeteries. Our final stop is the Gardner Earl Memorial Chapel at Oakwood, designed by prominent Albany architects Fuller and Wheeler. It is a striking building in the Richardsonian Romanesque style with windows by Tiffany and Maitland Armstrong. There will be ample time to study the windows. The Restoration Program will comprise short talks by the panelists followed with an open question and discussion session.










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