Editorial from the Fall 2013 issue of The Stained Glass Quarterly


I write this editorial at the end of a week that began at The Elms Resort and Spa in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, the site of the next Stained Glass Association of America Annual Summer Conference. I spent several days helping to plan events for the Conference but also enjoying views like the ones above. I took my sketch pad with me and spent some time outdoors — sometimes on the pool deck, sometimes in the gazebo (from which the photo above left was taken), and sometimes on the covered porch near the Café at the Elms — drawing and enjoying the relaxing environment that this amazing hotel offers.

I don’t think I can stress strongly enough that this Annual Summer Conference is going to be very different from those of past years. This Conference adopts a new orientation — perhaps I should say, a new atmosphere — made possible by a site like that at the Elms. The hallmark elements of education, information, networking, and fun that are part of all SGAA Conferences will be maintained while a new one is added: relaxation.

To those readers who are artists, I suggest that you bring pencils, pens, pastels, watercolors… whatever it is that you use to create, and be ready to enjoy using them in this wonderful and relaxing atmosphere… or, if I can perhaps coin a new word, artmosphere. But I also suggest that you bring something new… some new medium. Perhaps it could be something you’ve been wanting to try, or perhaps it could be something you’ve been wanting to return to and explore further. Regardless, the Elms is the place to try it.

And for those who are not artists, I suggest you bring a sketch pad, anyway. You are going to find yourself inspired by the grounds of the Elms, and, if you aren’t an artist when you get there, you may find yourself wanting to become one by the time you leave. Besides, even if you can draw only a stick figure, you’ll likely find it is the finest, most inspired stick figure you’ve drawn in a good, long while. And, most importantly, you’ll find drawing it both relaxing and refreshing.

I’m very excited about next summer’s Annual Summer Conference. I hope you’ll start making plans to join us and take advantage of all that an SGAA Annual Summer Conference has to offer. Also, please plan on entering the stained glass panel competition. It will be beautifully displayed in a sunlit hallway outside the Grand Ballroom at the Elms and will be a real opportunity to showcase the beauty of stained glass.


The 103rd Annual Summer Conference of the Stained Glass Association of America

Kansas City 2012

by Richard Gross

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2012 issue of The Stained Glass Quarterly. To download an Acrobat [pdf] version of the printed article, please click this link.

The 103rd Annual Summer Conference of the Stained Glass Association of America was a homecoming for the organization, being held in part on the campus of the SGAA Headquarters and Stained Glass School. The event opened with two days of pre-Conference classes,  with two painting workshops held in classroom space at the Stained Glass School, a design and a surface laminating class held in meeting rooms in the official Conference hotel, and a sand etching class held at Kathy Barnard’s studio in downtown Kansas City (see photos, page 110 and 111).

Conference presentations began with Fred Shea giving an in-depth look at wood frames and the many issues they face. Jon Rarick of Reusché and Company of T.W.S., Inc., described the company’s line of enamels for glass painting; this was followed by a presentation by Philippe Valery on St. Just Glass.

The First General Assembly saw lively discussion on the possibility of creating a Restoration Consultant certification or accreditation; it was decided to form a committee to further investigate this possibility and that the committee would report its findings and recommend a course of action in one year.

The evening’s Welcome Reception and Banquet, sponsored by Wissmach Glass Company, was highlighted by a keynote address by Kathy Barnard entitled “The Art of Glass.” She presented some truly amazing work and some wonderful insights on the possibilities of glass art.

Conference presentations hit a snag on Tuesday morning when the scheduled presenter for Facebook Marketing did not arrive. We found out later that day that he had been in a car accident on his way to the presentation when he called from the hospital to apologize for his absence. Member Laura Parham stepped in and described her efforts to advance the Stained Glass Association of America’s Facebook page, as well as successful online marketing in general.

Rolf Achilles, curator of the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows, spoke on the topic of Midwestern stained glass; artists C.Z. Lawrence and James Piercey talked on the topic of design comparison. The day’s presentations concluded with the SGAA’s Restoration Committee presenting the new Standards and Guidelines for the Preservation of Stained (and Leaded) Glass Windows. The entire publication has been reworked from the ground up to better suit the needs of today’s restoration projects, based on the latest understanding and developments in the field.

Members at the Second General Assembly voted to hold the 2014 Conference at the Elms Hotel and Spa in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. The 2014 Conference will be created as an artist’s retreat, with small-class workshops and seminars throughout the event.

The SGAA Casino Night was a new feature at this summer’s conference. The event featured casino-style gaming tables, including Craps, Roulette, Blackjack, and Texas Hold ’Em, all of which were run by SGAA members for SGAA members. The evening was designed to be a fun social event (see photos, page 112 – 115) as well as to raise money for Association projects. Chips won were redeemed for raffle tickets for some great prizes, highlighted by crates of glass donated by S.A. Bendheim and martini and wine glass sets, with glasses custom etched by Kathy Barnard.

On Wednesday, members boarded busses for the short ride from the Conference hotel to the SGAA Headquarters/Stained Glass School campus for “The Art of Glass,” an open house to which the public was invited. The purpose of this event was to introduce the crafts of stained, decorative, and architectural art glass to the local community of which we are now a part. As the SGAA Stained Glass School projects continue forward, it will be important to partner with the local community, which will ultimately benefit everyone involved (see photos, page 116-117).

Major League Improv provided a lively opening to the Annual Awards Banquet (photos opposite page). Congratulations go to Steve Sussman and Dennis Roberts, both newly elected members of the Board of Directors (photo above) and to Jennifer Banbury, who was awarded the 2012 President’s Award for her longtime (and continuing) service as the Association’s Recording Secretary.

Next year’s Annual Summer Conference will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana.