Creating stained-glass designs is as simple as one, two, three. One - the artist; two - colored glass; and three - light. The blending of all three elements can result in a DYNAMIC art form.

Ben Benedict, president and co-owner of Creative Glass, says stained glass "is the only art form I'm aware of that is anything but static."Why? Because all other art forms rely upon reflected light, while glass gets its vibrancy from transmitted light. The fact that light changes each hour of the day means that a stained glass window will change continually.

And it's the only art form that can be enjoyed from either side - from inside the building during the day, as the

window glows and sparkles in the rays of the sun, and from outside at night, as interior lights illuminate the colors.

Chamelonlike, Chameleonlike, Chameleon-like, the windows take on the hue, value and chroma of the seasons. For example, they are altered subtly by the green of spring, the warm colors of autumn and the snow-white blanket of winter.

Because of these dynamic qualities, it's no wonder that stained glass is enjoying a renewed interest. In fact, April is National Art Glass Month, with this year's theme being "Experience the Fun of Creating with Art Glass."

Stop by any of about a dozen stained-glass stores in the valley, and you'll probably be asked two questions: "What do you know about stained glass?" and "Would you like to learn more?"

One stained -glass company that has become very involved in this month's celebration is Creative Glass, 57 E. 700 South. Already it has held a three-day open house as well as offered two free demonstrations on how to create sun-catchers out of stained glass.

When you walk in their store, you'll probably be greeted by retail manager Sandy Stewart. Immediately you'll sense her enthusiasm about stained glass.

"Glass is my life!" she says. "It has a spiritual quality that adds an extra touch of beauty and sensuality to a piece."

As you look at some of the finished work hanging in the store's south windows, you'll see the some of the creations by the company's expert craftsmen.

When I was there, I was immediately attracted to the bright colors of Stewart's three free-form floral arrangements, designed for

Please see GLASS on P7

Dr. Craig Davis' office.

At one time Davis had a beautiful view of the mountains. But later that view was blocked when another office was constructed close by. As an alternative, Davis turned to Stewart's stained glass window designs to provide aesthetic interest.

As I moved through the facility at Creative Glass, my eyes zeroed in on a clear glass table top where an idyllic mermaid and other imagery had been carved by Dan Cummings. He created this incredible carving with sand blasting and resist techniques.

Next, I was intrigued by six glass panels carved into half-inch glass and then airbrushed with transparent paints. Depicting a naturalistic, outdoor wildlife scene, the series of panels was commissioned by Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia for his retreat in Aspen, Colo.

Also visually appealing were glass curtain wall systems created by Benedict and George Taylor. These incorporate several colors of high-performance, reflective glass into a single insulated glass unit.

But the highlight of the tour was a glimpse of a project commissioned by the LDS Church. Benedict calls it "the largest project that has been done in Utah - twice the scale of the project planned to renovate the windows at the Cathedral of the Madeleine. In fact, it's possibly the largest single commissioned stained-glass project in the nation in a decade."

Benedict got involved in a big way 19 months ago with "modifying designs, preparing documents, selecting glass, reviewing budget constraints, coordinating framing, etc."

He said Creative Glass has been in the construction mode for 10 months now. The proj-ect involves making 1,170 unit glass panels that will cover nearly 11,000 square feet in an LDS temple now under construction.

"We've already completed 1,000 panels," Benedict said.

I asked him what factors he takes into account when designing a glass window.

He mentioned three - structure requirements, originality and style of building.

He pointed out that more and more people are leaning away from strong colors, thus making it easier to change decor in home or office. And there seems to be little demand on a local level for contemporary work.

Stained glass has come a long way since it was developed in western Europe during the Middle Ages. The medium reached its height during the Romanesque and Gothic periods, when it became an integral part of cathedrals in France and England.

The original method of joining translucent glass by strips of lead continues to be used. However, over the years, numerous new techniques have developed - slumping, bending, fusing, sandblasting, sandcarving, etching, beveling, copper foiling, double and triple glazing - to name a few.

Space does not allow a description of these techniques. But if you want to learn more, contact Stewart, who is also class coordinator at Creative Glass. She'll be happy to keep you posted on classes in introduction to stained glass, glass identification, soldering techniques, and workshops in faceted glass and finishing.

And, as a result of new developments such as micro-kilns, people working in glass can now get almost instant gratification.

No wonder many people are becoming converts to the medium of stained glass. And a surprising number of them are echoing Stewart's words, "Glass is my life!"

Sunday, April 14, 1991

Monday, April 8, 1991