Inside “Judson Studios: Stained Glass from Gothic to Street Style”

3 minutes read

First exhibition for Judson Studios, the oldest family-run stained glass studio in America. The exhibit explores its origins and evolution over 120 years.

Here is a look at” Judson Studios: Stained Glass from Gothic to Street Style.”

The foundation of Judson Studios

In 1897, William Lees Judson and his three sons founded Judson Studio in Los Angeles. Born in England, William Lees moved to Ontario (Canada) in the 1850s, and California in 1893 with his family.

William Lees Judson, c. 1900, courtesy of Judson Studios

William Lees was a painter, and his son William Lees had the most experience in stained glass as he was an apprentice in a famous studios in Toronto and Los Angeles.

Did you know?

William Lees Judson was the first dean of the School of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California (USC).
William Lees Judson

Evolution of style

Since 1897, Judson Studios have created stained glasses for public and private places like churches, private homes, museums, hotels, and more. Their expertise extends beyond Los Angeles, and they are commissioned for numerous projects across the country.

Among the commissioned artworks in Los Angeles, there are the rotunda of the National History Museum, the Saint James’ Episcopal Church, the LA Public Library in DTLA, the Ace Hotel, the Santa Clarita Fire station, the First Baptist Church (Pasadena), and much more.  

In addition, Judson Studios collaborates with different professionals and artists. Working with architects, muralists, printmakers, sculptors, and more redefines stained glass and mixes genres.

Legend animal: Liberation, Joseph Paul Gerges, fused and stained glass, 2020

As an example, Judson Studios worked with architect Frank Lloyd Wright on the Barnsdall’s Hollyhock House. It became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2019.

Legend: Windows in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House, Los Angeles, CA, 1921

Evolution of techniques

Stained glass techniques didn’t change for centuries until the recent development of new processes.

Traditionally, artists painted directly on the panes of glass.

Torrey Pine, Judson Studios, Craftsman stained glass, 2002

In the 50s, the French technique of “dalle de verre” (slab of glass) was popular. Colored glasses are broken into specific forms and set in a matrix of epoxy. The installation is thinner, and the daylight emphasizes the contrast between the colorful glasses and the dark epoxy.

Glass blocks for the United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel, 1960

In the 60s, fused glass created a new visual effect blending and heating multiple colors. Below are two different fused glass techniques used by artists Narcissus Quagliata and Tim Carey.

Inspired by Ancient Greeks, Narcissus Quagliata applied granulated glass for Apollo in Algae (2018) and Arm of Poseidon (2018)

In 2013, Tim Carey worked on the Resurrection Window for the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. This massive work includes 161 panels (4 by 5 feet), and the entire artwork is 37 feet high and 93 feet across. The Face of the Christ is a sample for the final panel. “Artist Tim Carey wanted to emphasize Christ as a multicolored and multicultural individual.” *

‘* Source: Judson Studios’ exhibit

The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas.
Face of Christ (trial piece for the Resurrection Window), 2015

In 2016, Tim Carey created Kobe’s portrait a few months after his retirement from the Los Angeles Lakers.

Kobe, Tim Carey, and Judson Studios, 2017

Ready to visit this exhibit?

*COVD-19 update as of August 2021*

Please wear a mask and practice a physical distance of 6 feet between yourself and others

Please check L.A County’s health and safety protocols before your visit

Plan your visit:

Article based on my visit in July 2021

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