“Stain glass is really about how you manipulate the light. Yes, it’s also about the artwork, but it’s really about how the environment can be affected by the colored glass that is created.”
David Judson is no stranger to stained glass. He is his family’s fifth generation member to own and operate Judson studios in Los Angeles, California. Since 1920, master artisans have cut, painted and assembled stained glass at Judson.
An art form dating back to medieval times, Judson says it is not uncommon to see stained glass in places that are more modern.
“Stain glass is being used in shopping malls, restaurants and private homes. It’s no longer in only windows or ceilings of churches, mosques and other holy places,” Judson says.
Judson says the tradition of stained glass is important to him. But Judson Studios also fosters innovation in the craft. With the help of creative designer Tim Carey and famed glass artist Narcissus Quagliata, Judson artisans came up with a technique of painting on the glass using fused glass.
“Fused glass is something that's a little bit different than your traditional stained glass because you can basically take different colors of glass put them in a kiln and fuse them together which you can't do with normal colored stained glass,” says Judson.
Judson says this method will change the future of stained glass.
Judson Studios did a project for the Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas in 2014 using the fused glass technique.
“It was a 100-foot by 40-foot image of stories from the bible, says Judson. The large portrait included an image of Christ in the center.”
A new facility was built in South Pasadena in order to accomplish the task.
Judson says over the years he has invited young artists to come to his historic studio.
“Bringing in that young new generation kind of introduced a new breath of life into what is really kind of an old and traditional media. Now, we've been able to apply those traditional aspects to the new art world,” Judson says. “Also, the technologies now available to us... the combination of using the computer with the techniques of glass fusing allows the studio to create an environment where artists can work in glass to create things that I think we've we haven't seen before and will change how we see stained glass.”
Judson says he has a responsibility to build on his family’s years of work, pushing boundaries while also maintaining a healthy respect for tradition.