Research: It’s What to Do With Winter
Right now, I’m working on a project that involves tracing the development of iconography in certain key Biblical scenes relevant to the life of Christ and frequently depicted in visual art from their earliest origins to their most recent presentation, with the goal of closely examining the spiritual truths presented in these scenes and of coming to a fuller understanding of how those truths are communicated to the viewer in a meaningful way that further develops an understanding of the relationship between the substance of the message and the style of its presentation. This will, I imagine, at some point, result in an article. Although, if it doesn’t — if, ultimately, my working premise cannot be either supported or modified to produce a meaningful result and I end up abandoning the project entirely — well, at least the research is worth doing. Besides, I write this on a morning when the weatherman said we can expect our first winter weather, with possible minor accumulations of snow and ice overnight tonight and tomorrow morning. It could be a long winter, and I really can’t think of a better way to spend it than working on a few research projects.
There’s a nice research article in this issue. Bryant Stanton’s The Dark Age of American Stained Glass: The Tiffany Glass Company 1888 – A Productive Year (which begins on page 272) takes an in-depth look at a group of Good Shepherd-themed windows from Tiffany produced in 1888 and installed in churches across the country. I know Bryant personally, and I know he put a lot of time and effort into producing this article. It’s quite an article; I enjoyed reading it and am very glad to be able to include it in this issue of the magazine. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
I would love to be able to print more research articles in the coming issues of The Stained Glass Quarterly. If there’s something you’d like to know more about — a window, a theme, a style, a particular artist, windows from a particular region or period — really, anything you want to know more about — I would strongly urge you to consider doing the research and presenting what you find in an article for publication. The fact that you want to know more about a certain topic probably means that others do, too. Doing in-depth research and presenting one’s findings is a great way to advance everyone’s understanding of stained glass, or religious art, or painting techniques, or even the history of how stained glass windows are sold.
One of the great things about pursuing a research article is that you don’t have to start out an expert… but you might end up one, if you carry the research far enough. It is amazing what one can learn if one is willing to collect the pieces and connect the dots. Besides: education is its own reward; it’s not possible to waste time when that time is spent in learning something new or in coming to a deeper understanding of something already learned.
If what I’ve written here inspires you to pursue such an article, I look forward to reading it and hope I can include it in a future edition of this magazine. Of course, I’m looking for other types of articles as well. I would very much like to be able to print more articles about the business of stained glass written by stained glass businesspeople. Technical articles — articles about how to do specific craft techniques, or a new way of approaching a task — are always something very much in demand.
The thing about the readership of The Stained Glass Quarterly is that the people who read it are the experts in the field. That’s the nature of a professional trade journal: Its readership includes the very people who should be sharing their knowledge, experience, and skills with others in the form of articles. Winter is upon us. Won’t you take a little time this winter and consider writing an article?